Repeat of Katrina: Evacuees to Philly?

September 1, 2008 6:14:15 AM PDT
On September 2005, a planeload of dazed Katrina survivors arrived in Philadelphia with few if any worldly possession. This time, it appears most people at risk in and around New Orleans have been evacuated.

Should Gustav cause Katrina like destruction of housing, Mayor Nutter told Action News, Philadelphia city government will certainly help as it did three years ago, if evacuees must relocate.

On Sunday, flights out of New Orleans were packed. Some waited hours to get seats on the last scheduled commercial flights.

US Airways flight 758 was among the last to leave New Orleans before the airport closed. It brought passengers to Philadelphia who are relieved to be out of harm's way.

Tressie Dalaye dropped her daughter off for her freshman year at Tulane, and brought her back home a week later.

Tressie's daughter, Megan, said, "We just started meeting people there and then, all of a sudden, everyone has to pack up all their stuff?and leave,"

And leave they did with thousands of others. Some waited for hours to get on a plane.

"I sat in the airport 5 in the afternoon Saturday until 11:00 this morning because we were evacuated from our hotel," Jim Gladstone of Center City said.

Some evacuees who spoke with Action News say their exodus was orderly and calm.

"As we left the airport there was six C130s that were loading up to 30,000 people that couldn't get out of the city on their on, so government definitely got it right this time, that's what I was proud of," Ralph Avallone of Bayville, New Jersey said.

That wasn't the case when Jean Schmolze fled hurricane Katrina three years ago.

She came to Philadelphia and never went back. Jean is in close touch with others who also never returned. She says their hearts are with their friends who are now fleeing Gustav.

"From those us of who are still here to those of you who are going through this again our prayers are with you, we know how you feel, and if you need to come to Philadelphia, we will step up and support you," Jean said.

Jean and the other Katrina survivors are anxious and worried, but also relieved that they are not among those evacuating this time.

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