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For Hurricane Katrina Victims, Isaac Brings Back Painful Memories

Fewer than 100 people are staying in a shelter in Shreveport, forced from their homes in New Orleans as Hurricane Isaac slams Louisiana’s coast. Two are women who fled Hurricane Katrina nearly seven years ago to the day.

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Hurricane Isaac Evacuees in Shreveport /Elaine Etheridge

The women just met each other since arriving at LSU- Shreveport Monday, but their painful memories of Hurricane Katrina connect them. One is even from the Ninth Ward, and said she stayed away for two years after Katrina hit before going back home to New Orleans.

The other woman told me she had lived through some frightening moments, and returned to New Orleans six months after Katrina hit. It was so devastating, she told me she wished she had stayed in Shreveport.

We had to live through Katrina, and I have four kids. I brought three with me. My son was supposedly with his father and couldn’t get back to him, so he was stuck out there for Hurricane Katrina. Now my son got out this time, but my daughters are stuck down there.

News has come that the trees are down by her sister’s house and her gate is gone. ”They’re getting some water, a little flooding, but it’s not too, too bad right now,” she said.

Michelle Davison with the Northwest Louisiana Red Cross told me they are staying at LSU-Shreveport. There are a total of about 300 evacuees in the area and 500 or so in Alexandria, she said.

“We have 64 people in the shelter right now,” said Davison. “We also have another 35 over in Ruston and about 88 in the Monroe and Tallulah area. We’re just around 300 total for everybody.”

Davison claims the accommodations at LSU are more than adequate. She says a family of 25 is able to stay together in the racketball courts area, which is more private than being split up in the large gymnasium.

It’s wait-and-see for when the evacuees can head back home. “And those numbers will fluctuate wildly over the next day or two,” says Davison. “With this storm, we don’t know exactly since it’s gone as far west as it has. And the storms are predicted to come straight up to us. We really don’t know if people are gonna be able to go home quite as quickly as they they might want to.”

The evacuees I talked to say the hospitality is wonderful, but they are concerned about folks back home.

All state offices are closed today, including the Department of Motor Vehiclesl. Late this afternoon, KEEL was told  Caddo and Bossier schools will be closed Thursday and Friday, and Desoto schools will be closed Thursday.

Hurricane Isaac photos

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