ELIZABETH BRACKET: The phrase you hear around Baton Rouge, the city closest to New Orleans, is "Everybody has people." In the small town of Rougon, houses are overflowing with family and friends displaced from Hurricane Katrina.
CECILIA PATIN: I said we have room. I have ten. My sister got 15. My other sister got 18. We all help each other.
ELIZABETH BRACKET: Even though Cecilia Patin's husband just had open heart surgery, she welcomed relatives like Mark Meilleur.
MARK MEILLEUR: These people opened their arms. It's been tremendous, the way these people are reaching out to us. We lost everything in New Orleans. Until this week, that had been home. Right now, this is home. You know, I would like to go back eventually and see if there is life to start over, you know, but from the looks of things, this may be life to come for a long, long time.
CECILIA PATIN: This is enough for a family of ten or twelve. You have just got to know how to live. You just have to know how to live.
ELIZABETH BRACKET: While grateful for the generosity, it's hard to leave home behind. For Raquel Dufauchard, New Orleans was a magical place.
RAQUEL DUFAUCHARD: When your heart and your soul is in the place where you were born, you want to get back there.
ELIZABETH BRACKET: But thousands of others who lost everything in the storm did not have family and friends to take them in.
SPOKESPERSON: The wait is not really bad if you guys want to wait.
ELIZABETH BRACKET: They streamed in to Baton Rouge, filling the city's emergency shelters and straining the city's social service agencies. When immediate food stamp cards were offered, people lined up for hours. Andren Wilson headed up the project.
ANDREN WILSON: We will go around the clock, 24 hours, having our staff commit to a 24-hours-a-day rotating shifts. We're doing everything possible to get these emergency food stamps into the hands of needy Louisiana citizens.
ELIZABETH BRACKET: For many people in line, it was their first requesting government help.
JUANITA STOVALL: I've never stood in line like this before. I have nothing. I feel like it's degrading or something. I don't have anything.
SPOKESMAN: The computers will be here probably tomorrow.
ELIZABETH BRACKET: And all of this has happened amidst Baton Rouge's own cleanup efforts, says Police Chief Jeff Le Duff.
JEFF LE DUFF: We had Hurricane Katrina, too. So we, too, are coming up with our power, we are cleaning debris from our roadways, we're cleaning trees. So we're still not up 100 percent.
SPOKESMAN: How do you deal with a city that's doubled in size in the space of two or three days?
ELIZABETH BRACKET: That's what Kip Holden is struggling with. He is now the mayor of the largest city in Louisiana, a city where traffic is often at a standstill; where lines for gasoline stretch for blocks, airport traffic is accelerating, and schools are gearing up to handle a huge influx of new students.
JEFF LE DUFF: Right now we are handling double shifts. Nobody has had a day off. We're in emergency mode. I cannot tell my guys when they're going to get a day off.
ELIZABETH BRACKET: But these sudden big-city issues bring with them anxieties over big-city problems. Cara Caillouet is fearful for the future of Baton Rouge.
CARA CAILLOUET: The population has increased. The violence has increased. It's - the whole feel is very unstable from at home, at work - driving to work takes an extra 45 minutes, and everyone is just really on edge-- and, I mean, as it should be. We have fire alarms. We have helicopters. This isn't Baton Rouge. It isn't how it is; it isn't how it was a week ago. This is a college town, and I mean, this is not how it's supposed to be.
ELIZABETH BRACKET: In fact, some Baton Rouge residents have begun carrying weapons. The mayor says he understands the rising tensions, but asks citizens to be careful not to be swayed by rumors.
KIP HOLDEN: People basically call talk radio, and they're not screening the calls. They say, well, there's looting going on at all the Wal-marts in town, or there's a riot that's broken out in downtown Baton Rouge, or this person's been shot over here, and there are people walking down the street with shotguns. You can't keep up with the number of rumors, simply because they're spreading so fast.
So we had to get on TV immediately and say, wait a minute, unless you hear this from law enforcement officials or us, don't give any validity to this, because it's creating a lot of problems.
ELIZABETH BRACKET: The mayor has a strong message for anyone thinking about taking advantage of his city.
KIP HOLDEN: If you believe you can come in here and wreak havoc, get ready, because we're prepared and we're not going to let you turn this into a lawless town.
ELIZABETH BRACKET: But everyone here agrees Baton Rouge will be a changed town.