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For evacuees to Atlanta, Hurricane Ida reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago

The powerful hurricanes followed a similar track and did devastating damage to Louisiana

ATLANTA — For many, Hurricane Ida is stirring up painful memories. The powerful category 4 storm made landfall in Louisiana on the same date Hurricane Katrina ravaged the state and Mississippi 16 years ago. Ida came ashore about 45 miles west of where Katrina made landfall. 

Thousands of evacuees have since made the trek from New Orleans to seek safety and shelter, while others remain in the Big Easy to ride out the storm. 

Winston Sih was in New Orleans visiting family when he saw repeated weather coverage on local news stations there. He and his husband eventually decided Saturday night to drive to Atlanta and stay in a hotel. Sih said he faced congested traffic on his way out of New Orleans. His husband, he said, lived through Hurricane Katrina and had memories flooding back 16 years later.

"He has that kind of burnt in memory of what it’s like to evacuate Katrina and evacuate a hurricane and difficult situation and leave everything behind," Sih said. "For people, it’s really a matter of life and death. They’re watching the radar very closely and seeing what that impact is like on their homes and businesses and having to board up. It brings up so many difficult memories.”

RELATED: All of New Orleans without power after Entergy suffers 'catastrophic damage'

Hurricane Katrina drove Beatrice Soublet and her husband to Atlanta, and since then, the couple had made Atlanta their home. She believes the Crescent City was better prepared structurally for Ida versus Katrina. She referenced fortified levees, adjusted floodgates, and more pumps in action.

“It was quite a challenge, quite a difficult time, quite a painful time with Katrina, having to evacuate and leave," Soublet said. "To see this happening almost on the very same day is just surreal, but the one thing that’s comforting is that they’re better prepared. You can rebuild your house, get another car, but you can’t restore people who have left us.”

Hour after making landfall Sunday, Hurricane Ida knocked out power to the entire city of New Orleans. 

College student-athletes Jacqueline Dianis and Zanaa Cordis made the drive from New Orleans to Atlanta Friday afternoon, before Ida hit. The basketball teammates are staying with family. Dianis said this time around, people in New Orleans did not wait as long to evacuate. She said her teammates could rely on experience during Hurricane Laura last year when she rode out the storm with her teammates.

RELATED: Photos, video from across Louisiana capture the power of Hurricane Ida

"I think there is a lot of uncertainty, but I’m really just praying for all those people," Dianis said. "It’s a difficult situation. After Hurricane Katrina, how New Orleans was able to bounce back from that, overall, it’s a strong community there. No matter what happens, we’ll make it through. The city will make it through.”

The two believe the Big Easy can withstand Hurricane Ida and bounce back, because it has done it before.

"New Orleans is very resilient, so whatever is thrown at us, we’ll be fine," Cordis said. "NOLA Strong always.”

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