Hurricane Katrina survivors in Bay Area fear for family in Tropical Storm Ida's path

ByTim Johns via KGO logo
Monday, August 30, 2021
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Sixteen years to the day after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans, Ida is now pummeling Louisiana.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Sixteen years to the day after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans, Tropical Storm Ida is now pummeling Louisiana.

Michele Morgan-Oten now lives in Berkeley, but is a New Orleans native who lived through Hurricane Katrina.

"I relive that every August. And especially with another storm now, it makes it even harder for me now," she said.

Morgan-Oten told ABC7 she hardly slept Saturday evening.

RELATED: Hurricane Tracker: Ida weakens to Category 2 storm with 110 mph sustained winds

Instead, she was up all night worrying about her loved ones back at home, most of whom fled the city fearing another Katrina-style disaster.

"Because no one's home. They don't know what they're going to be coming home to unfortunately. Or if they can actually return," Morgan-Oten said.

While Ida is presenting its own challenges, Morgan-Oten said the impact of Katrina left a psychological scar on many New Orleans residents.

But that doesn't necessarily mean the two storms will have the same aftermaths.

VIDEO: Ida vs Katrina: How the two hurricanes compare as New Orleans braces for impact

Harold Schapelhouman is a firefighter who was on the ground following Katrina.

He said one key difference is that rescue teams are now more prepared.

"The FEMA teams are all equipped. They're mostly staffed by firefighters and civilian professionals like doctors, structural engineers, search dog teams, hazardous material experts," Schapelhouman said.

But no matter what happens, Morgan-Oten believes the people of New Orleans will recover.

"We're resilient. We'll be back," she said.