August 31st, 2008
12:55 PM ET

Preparing for Gustav, flashbacks of Katrina

Kay Jones
AC360° Editorial Producer

We are gearing up for a special edition of AC 360 tonight, live from New Orleans. Hotels are closed, businesses boarded up on Saturday and people started evacuating Friday night, in advance of Gustav.

Anderson, Sr Producer Ted Fine and I arrived in New Orleans Friday afternoon, straight from Denver. I noticed an immediate difference from 3 years ago, when I got to town 2 days before Katrina. In 2005, the city was not as crowded as normal, but still pretty hopping. In fact, it seemed like most of the people I met didn't really think Katrina would really hit here... Until Sunday morning, one day before Katrina hit, when it became a Cat 5 storm.

Fast forward 3 years, and things have changed. Of course, there are people staying until the last possible second or not even leaving: including the gang at our favorite hot spot, the Spotted Cat.

Another big difference lies on Canal Street. Stores started closing midday Friday all along Canal. Most of the outdoor and in store ATM's were already drained of cash in preps for the storm. Many of the tourists I ran into Friday afternoon couldn't believe how seriously the city is taking the storm. In fact, a few seemed irritated that they couldn't get cash. I, for one, and glad to see the change.

Now, the NOPD has started closing off streets, and I’ve seen National Guard trucks driving up and down on Poydras, outside the CNN offices. The waiting game has begun, as we see over the next day or so where Gustav is headed. Most people in the New Orleans area are hoping all of this planning is for nothing. We'll know if that is the case soon enough.

Filed under: Hurricane Gustav • Kay Jones
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Ken in NC

    Anderson be careful and stay safe . Mother Nature can be worse than any Great White Shark.

    August 31, 2008 at 8:58 pm |
  2. Fran,Dallas,Tx

    I am amazed that people are on CNN talking about how surprised they are that no more has been done on the levee system. Does nobody realize that Coolidge came down here in 32 and said oh how terrible and Bush did the same in 05. Nobody did a thing.

    News flash no federal government has ever cared about Louisiana. It took Huey Long to get us bridges.

    August 31, 2008 at 8:20 pm |
  3. Rad

    I feel very sorry for the folks of New Orleans. However living in Florida all my life, I have never seen the likes of the over flowing generosity provided to New Orleans residents. Actually, when a storm is headed toward Florida, we are ask to evacuate, and we do it on our own. You don't see, planes, trains, buses etc come into town to pick us up and take us to safe ground. You are responsible for your own family.

    August 31, 2008 at 7:49 pm |
  4. Ron Feuer

    McCain is a FOLLOWER (of idiots, Bush was a follower of KARL, the NAZI, Rove) I explicitly want to add!, Obama is a LEADER! We had a followrer now we need a LEADER in Obama! Case closed!

    August 31, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  5. patricia ann wood

    I hope and pray for all to be safe in south Louisiana. I was in Rita and have since moved to NC.I'm watching CNN .and seeing the good things being done for those poor people by FEMA, Homeland Secuirty etc. but I'm also wondering if all this is just a show for the Republicans since our new govenor is a Republican and a election year and I only hope that finally the government has woken up to the reality that the state of Louisiana is a very important and needed state in this US of A.

    August 31, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  6. Adam

    The ripple effects of Gustav will span our great nation; it cannot be overemphasized. The Mississippi is a vital artery. New Orleans is one of the largest ports. Lives and major industries (e.g., insurance, shipping) will be crushed. Even if you could rebuild, would you buy a home in a place that was uninsurable? Would you re-start a business where you can't get workers and where families can't send their kids to school? New Orleans and our nation needs a miracle. The levees must hold.

    I grew up there. New Orleans, like San Francisco and New York, is a state of mind and way of life. People return there because it has a style and culture unlike any other place in the United States.

    We're all going to be tested ...

    August 31, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  7. anne,newfoundland,canada

    I hope all of YOU will stay safe down there,too.

    Take care of yourselves!

    August 31, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  8. Barbara Adams

    No aid better be given to Gustav survivors before Katrina survivors are taken care of. I'm a 57 YO white disabled survivor who is still fighting for rental reimbursement from FEMA as well as homeowners insurance for water line up damages. No to mention I sued my second flood insurer, got a judgment against them to learn they declared bankruptcy. I thought I had done everything right to protect me and my home of 25 years, but am quite surprised. I stayed on a military base at the rate of $20/day until June 30 of this year, and am still in grief tand PTSD herapy at Johns Hopkins. How can I not have qualified for FEMA aid? When I heard today that the planes, trains and buses are being hired by using Katrina Recovery money, I nearly had a heart attack. Now, why is AC just doing stories on the idiots who chose to return to NOLA and rebuild? I'm one of the smart ones who chose not to return, living in Maryland in need of dire help and no one's here building me a house. I live in an apartment on an air mattress with only a television. What's wrong with this picture, AC? Get out of NOLA and do stories on the Katrina survivors with intelligence; I just didn't expect the same to happen so soon.

    August 31, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  9. priscilla

    Thanks to CNN for comemmorating a sad and low point in our country's history. AC's presence means a lot to the people that lost so much, so needlessly. The 3rd anniversary of the destruction of a major metropolitan area and coastal region reminds us that while government can't do everything for its citizens, it must be there before, during, and after catostrophic events. It seems that the Bush, Nagin, and now Jendel administrations have learned this.

    I pray that the levees hold, the evacuated citizens find some peace and that they can quickly return to their homes and communities. Thanks also to the first responders and national guard troops for their bravery and endurance in helping to ensure the safety and stability of NOLA and the Gulf Coast.

    August 31, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  10. pati mc, camp hill, pa

    Hi Kay, Anderson and gang,

    Glad to hear that you guys are all doing well. I can imagine that you are all very restless just sitting there waiting for Gustav to hit. Must be frustrating. Get some rest while you can.

    Clearly the situation is much better than with Katrina. Surely it could not have been worse. It is a shame to think that it took the tragedy of Katrina to get us to this point. At least something was learned and I thank God for that. Like everyone out there, I am flummoxed that this could happen again. NOLA surely does not need this.

    Thanks for the heads up on the show tonite. I will be watching.

    Have fun while you can and try not to imbibe too many Hurricanes (pun intended). Seriously, stay safe!

    August 31, 2008 at 1:40 pm |
  11. Christine

    During Katerina Gary Tuchman did a story on the aquarium animals (moving the dolphins to the hotel pool) Can you please tell me what is happening with the animals during Gustav?

    August 31, 2008 at 1:39 pm |
  12. maria

    I hear so many people nationwide asking the same question.

    Why don't they just move? Why rebuild??

    Please try and address that some of our businesses locally including the percentage of oil production from the Gulf, is why why cities like New York and Chicago have lights on everyday!!!

    Why Stay?? We stay for everyone else in the country! We stay because if we leave our jobs, others will suffer as well.

    My father works for an offshore oil company. The company has halted production. What will that mean for the rest of the country?? Is my father home? No, he is waiting for the storm to pass and then he goes right back out in the Gulf.

    Everyone in the country need Southeast Louisiana just as much as we do.

    August 31, 2008 at 1:22 pm |
  13. Jodilyn

    I too am glad for the change. My brother lives west of New Orleans and has been preparing for this for a long time. Ever since our father died in Hurricane Katrina, he has worked to gain experience as a First Responder and will be staying behind in his town as a rescuer if needed. These storms are so powerful, they can change life in an instant. Our father didn't make it out of Katrina, but hopefully more people will take this one more seriously because of lessons learned from three years ago.

    God bless all those staying behind to keep people safe and all of you risking your safety to report on Gustaf. For family members like myself who live out of state, you are our only link to what is happening to family members in the danger zone.

    August 31, 2008 at 1:20 pm |
  14. Marcia,

    As they used to say on Hill Street Blues "Let's be careful out there."

    August 31, 2008 at 1:15 pm |