NEW ORLEANS, La. — While some are hunkering down as Hurricane Ida makes landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi, others are watching from afar as the Gulf Coast takes the brunt of the storm on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Millions of people are the path of the storm, and many of them have evacuated to the metro Atlanta area.
“We were trying everything we could to stay put and get all of the supplies that we needed to stay safely put,” New Orleans evacuee Winston Sih told Channel 2′s Elizabeth Rawlins. “But we saw the track was starting to change and we figured if there was any time to go, it was when we left.”
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Sih and his spouse made the last minute decision to leave when they realized stores were running out of supplies and their neighborhood was a ghost town.
He told Rawlins that his family is lucky, their apartment near the French Quarter is their second home.
Many, however, can’t afford to lose the only home they have, and many who survived Hurricane Katrina are experiencing deja vu.
Matt Simmons is an Atlanta resident but was living in New Orleans for college in 2005 when Katrina hit.
“It was amazing the level that the water rose to, lifting up appliances,” he recalled. “The floor below us had just disintegrated.”
Simmons says he knew some families who lost everything, and he spent the days after the storm helping some families salvage anything they could.
“I had a buddy whose grandparents lived in Lakeview and he asked me if I would stop there and find their safe, stock certificates, deeds to the house and everything,” he said.
Simmons’ sister still lives in the New Orleans area, but decided to leave at the last minute ahead of the hurricane.
“I talked to her, she packed more than she did 16 years ago. We literally thought we will be back in three days, so we packed three days worth of clothes,” he recalled.
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Current evacuees and survivors of Hurricane Katrina are trying to be optimistic about the outcome and impacts of this storm.
Red Cross officials say they have opened dozens of evacuation shelters across Louisiana and Mississippi. Volunteers have also pre-positioned supplies, moving truckloads of blankets and cots along with ready-to-eat meals.
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