Gulf Coast Motel Warning
I think most people are generally aware of this situation but I wanted to emphasize it. Due to Hurricane Katrina, there are generally no motel rooms available anywhere near the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi.
On Saturday October 29 I started looking for a motel room in Beaumont TX (near the LA border) at 5:30pm. There were no rooms available. I continued east on I-10/12 through LA and into MS, stopping at nearly every exit with motels, they were all full. Many had signs on the doors, "no rooms" or "no vacancy." I cruised north on I-59 through southern MS and all the motels here were full, also.
One might have better luck on a weekday night, but I would suggest trying to plan a trip through this area such that you do not have to stop along the Gulf Coast for a motel room without a reservation.
The expectation is that this situation will continue for several months. One motel manager told me they were completely booked through June '06.