The irony hasn’t been lost on anybody in the New Orleans area, the least of all the New Orleans Saints who have been forced for the time being to put aside less important football preparations for far more serious matters.
Exactly seven years to the date since Hurricane Katrina slammed into the city, the entire Gulf Coast is bracing yet again for another storm, this time in the form of Tropical Storm Isaac.
The storm was expected to gain strength over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and later become a Category 1 Hurricane before coming ashore sometime Tuesday.
“I know the anxiety level is high,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told CNN. “The storm is somewhat uncertain. Out of an abundance of caution, we will begin to take these precautions as quickly as we can.”
Katrina barreled into the city on August 29, 2005, killing roughly 1,800 people while leaving unprecedented destruction in its wake after the city’s water levees buckled.
Ever mindful of the past, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency on Saturday with the Saints an interim coach Joe Vitt taking note.
Vitt recommended to the players on Sunday that they evacuate their families and gave everybody the day off on Monday to prepare for the storm.
The team is scheduled to head to Nashville to play its final preseason game against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday. Preparations have already been made to leave New Orleans on Monday and head to Cincinnati before traveling to Nashville for the game.
Vitt hopefully spoke for his team and the city as a whole when asked if the Saints are more prepared to deal with Isaac based on recent history.
“No question,” he said. “That’s the way this team is built. That’s the way this organization’s built. I think that it really just shadows the resiliency of our community. This community faces these types of things it seems every year. We stand beside our community, encourage them to take shelter and everybody can be safe in this thing.”