BATON ROUGE  - Louisiana doesn't yet have enough

shelter space lined up for people who may be fleeing storms in the

hurricane season that begins June 1, Social Services Secretary

Kristy Nichols said Tuesday.

The shelter shortage and the annual wrangling to locate evacuee

space in neighboring states has Nichols, who oversees emergency

sheltering in the state, suggesting a plan to upgrade Louisiana's

public buildings to double as emergency shelters when needed.

But that plan would require a new law, money and planning time

and couldn't be in place for the upcoming storm season. For now,

Nichols said she is looking to other states and the Red Cross for

shelter assistance.

However, Nichols said she's confident the state will have

adequate shelter space by the start of hurricane season.

Nichols said her department has identified 15,400 certain

shelter spots for the next hurricane season through a state-built

shelter in central Louisiana, leased shelter space in north

Louisiana and other arrangements.

That's not enough to house the 37,000 people who evacuated to