Hurricane Isaac is set to hit New Orleans on the 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, prompting many residents of the newly fortified city to remember the horrific day when 1,800 people were killed by the devastating floods in 2005.
Hurricane Isaac headed straight for New Orleans on Wednesday, but this time the city is prepared. Its levees have been fortified, and residents left the area in preparation for the category 1 storm’s arrival, reports Yahoo! News.
While Isaac is less powerful than Katrina was, the storm still knocked out power to 200,000 homes and businesses in the area just hours after making landfall. The storm came ashore at 7:45 pm on Tuesday night, close to the mouth of the great Mississippi River. Isaac drove a wall of water almost 11 feet high inland.
But despite the destruction Isaac has already caused (as well as what will come when the storm crawls over New Orleans), resident Margaret Thomas, who was trapped for a week in her home in New Orleans’ Broadmoor neighborhood by Katrina’s floodwaters, chose to stay put for the new storm, saying:
“Isaac is the son of Abraham. It’s a special name. That means God will protect us.”
Isaac also promised to lend an even more solemn tone to commemoration ceremonies on Katrina’s anniversary, commemorating the 1,800 lost in Louisiana and Mississippi. The ceremony includes the tolling of the bells at St. Louis Cathedral, which overlooks New Orleans’ Jackson Square.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu calmed residents but also warned them by saying that:
“We don’t expect a Katrina-like event, but remember there are things about a Category 1 storm that can kill you.”
Tourists and residents alike heeded Landrieu’s warning as streets of the French Quarter, which are normally packed with partiers, appeared deserted as they were washed with rain, according to Fox News. Katrina survivors like Tracy Smith, 26, a former deputy sheriff who was trapped for days with about 100 inmates in a New Orleans jail during the 2005 hurricane, are still haunted by the experience.
Smith said, “That’s why I was panicked for this storm.” Smith and her family opted for a hotel room instead of staying at their home for the storm.
Other residents like Pamela Young opted to stay in their homes. Young, who decided to stay settled into her home in the Lower 9th Wart (a neighborhood devastated by Hurricane Katrina), stated:
“I feel safe. Everybody’s talking `going, going,’ but the thing is, when you go, there’s no telling what will happen. The storm isn’t going to just hit here.”
Young lives in a new two-story home that was built to replace the one destroyed by the 2005 hurricane. She added that she’s not worried about the levees. Instead, she stated:
“If the wind isn’t too rough, I can stay right here. If the water comes up, I can go upstairs.”
But despite the feelings of residents like Pamela Young, many feel tensions and recall bad memories at the sight of a hurricane arriving on the anniversary of Katrina.