Gary: Some of the same states hit hardest by Katrina back in 2005, Louisiana and Mississippi, are now feeling the full effects of Hurricane Isaac. In fact, the storm’s path brought Isaac’s fierce winds and heavy rains right to the city of New Orleans. Isaac was upgraded to a hurricane early yesterday afternoon, when its winds were clocked at 75 miles an hour.
As the storm approached, thousands of residents evacuated. But even as the winds and waves on the city’s Lake Pontchartrain began kicking up, many decided to hole up and wait out the storm.
New Orleans is an unusual city. It’s surrounded by Lake Pontchartrain, and the Mississippi River. Now much of the city is like a bowl, sitting below sea level. That is why barriers and levees were built to keep back the water.
During Hurricane Katrina, many of the levees failed and water flooded 80% of the city, picking up and moving entire homes, and leaving thousands stranded.
During the past seven years, nearly $15 billion has been spent to build and strengthen the levees, floodwalls, pump stations and surge barriers. They are all designed to keep storm surge and floodwaters out of the lower lying parts of the city.
Crews in other parts of coastal Louisiana were also busy in the hours before Isaac’s arrival. Crews were building barriers and blocking off roads near Mississippi River floodgates and levees to keep highways clear for emergency vehicles.
Dwayne Conrad is hoping his New Orleans art gallery survives this latest storm. He’s lived in New Orleans all his life and says he remembers Katrina all too well.
Dwayne Conrad: I understand what happened even during Betsy when I was a kid. I lived it. So it constantly haunts you, and having this hurricane come at the anniversary of Katrina, that’s very haunting. But we’re survivors here. And what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Gary: Gary Hamilton, Channel One News.