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‘The biggest concern is flooding’: New Orleans family flees from Hurricane Ida

Frank and Ateja Lewis headed to Pensacola

Thousands of people have evacuated New Orleans to escape the impact of Hurricane Ida. Some families fear when they return home nothing will be as they remember it.
Thousands of people have evacuated New Orleans to escape the impact of Hurricane Ida. Some families fear when they return home nothing will be as they remember it.

Some people who evacuated New Orleans ahead of Hurricane Ida fear that when they return home, nothing will be as they remembered it.

Frank and Ateja Lewis evacuated New Orleans to escape Hurricane Ida. They headed east to Pensacola. The drive that would have normally taken a few hours took 12 hours, as thousands were leaving, too.

“We left at, like, 10 In the morning. We didn’t get here until 10 p.m.,” Ateja Lewis said. “It was gridlock in some spots, constantly moving maybe 5 to 10 mph in some spots.”

Ida made landfall Sunday afternoon as a Category 4 storm, but the Lewis family doesn’t know when they’ll be able to return. They live in an area that’s prone to flooding.

“The biggest concern is flooding,” Ateja Lewis said. “Whenever there’s a flood, like, our area floods. It does. Sometimes it goes down really quick. Sometimes it sticks, and water comes into a lot of the houses on our street, but it also floods, so you got to think about your cars, your other property and things like that. Even though our house is raised, you’ve got to think about other properties.”

Ida is causing anxiety. The Lewises are survivors of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when they lost their home at that time. Their new home is elevated, but worry looms.

“We’re keeping in contact with everybody,” Frank Lewis said. “Katrina taught a lot of lessons, and I think the one big thing about Katrina, it taught everybody to keep in contact and keep with family members.”

They remain hopeful that their new home survives this hurricane.


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