Hurricane Ida leaves Louisiana-native Baylor students fearful for their families and homes

(AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

By Camille Cox | Staff Writer

Exactly 16 years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans and surrounding areas, Hurricane Ida, with winds reaching 150 mph, made landfall, knocking down trees and leaving thousands without power.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana sophomore Christine Myer and Alexandria, Louisiana sophomore Avery Hunter have been in close contact with their families in Louisiana as Hurricane Ida continues to unfold across the state.

Myer, whose family lost power along with thousands of others, hopes that she will be able to stay in contact with her family in the coming days.

“The biggest thing is just hoping that they don’t lose the internet so that I can text them and keep up with them,” Myer said.

Hunter, who has family in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Alexandria, felt the heavy weight of Ida hitting on Katrina’s anniversary.

“It makes it [Hurricane Ida] hurt in a different way because people have not fully recovered over all these years from Katrina,” Hunter said. “They have the chance of all of their work being reversed again by the hurricane.”

Baton Rouge, Louisiana junior Pierson Luscy also said Hurricane Ida was more devastating given the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

“It’s kind of one of those things that was eerily similar and just destined to happen,” Luscy said. “It brought back a lot of emotions, but you can’t think about it a lot when a Category 4 hurricane is coming for you.”

The National Weather Service New Orleans was able to assess some of the damages across the community at daylight Monday morning. They have requested that anyone already evacuated out of New Orleans does not return as power remains out and emergency teams continue to help those in need.

Even colleges like Louisiana State University recommended students evacuate to “safe grounds” on Friday according to LSU sophomore Nicole Krueger.

“It’s been really stressful,” Krueger said. “One moment, I’m getting on the bus on my way to class, the next, my phone was flooding with messages about how we needed to get to safe grounds. Everything was unknown for a while. The university canceled school, and then the sorority house I’m living in told us the house was closing and to be out by 10 a.m. the next day.”

While Louisiana is no stranger to heavy rains and storm surges, Hurricane Ida poses a threat to New Orleans’ storm system, which was implemented by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2005. Officials told The Wall Street Journal that the system “appears to be working as intended” but are unsure as flash floods continue to threaten the levees.

“The reason Katrina was so bad was because the levees broke,” Luscy said. “If the levees do not break this time, they will never break.”

While Baylor continues life as normal, students with ties to Louisiana are feeling the fears of the unknown.

“For everyone else, life is going on as normal,” Hunter said. “But their whole world could be flipped in the matter of minutes. It’s difficult knowing that.”