For Michael Ford and Rachael Wolfe, however — who watched reports of looting and of forgotten survivors from a house in Wallonia last week — it was home they saw coming apart at the seams.
Ford and Wolfe — an English junior and history senior, respectively — had just finished their first week of class at the University of New Orleans. It’s called the Lake Front Campus because it sits on Lake Ponchetrain, the lake that spilled over its levees, flooding the city.
“We have no idea when we’ll be students there again,” Ford said.
The couple made the decision to leave Saturday, Sept. 3, before the mandatory evacuation order had been given. Because they took a highway, U.S. 61, out of town, they missed the gridlock that had already gripped I-10 by dawn on Sunday.
It’s not the first storm they’ve left for. They evacuated last summer for Hurricane Ivan, which brought only minor wind damage to the city.
“Every time there is a big a storm, ‘this is going to be it,’” Wolfe said.
So despite reports saying New Orleans was in the line of Hurricane Katrina’s fire, they expected to “sit around [in a hotel] and watch TV, and that’ll be it.”
To prepare, they packed lots of snack food and lots of movies.
And while they had left on false alarms before, the couple did bring along some priceless possessions, like their photo albums.
“The things you’d look back on and wish you’d taken,” Wolfe said.
For the rest of this story, please see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.