Long lines at New Orleans gas stations are the first telltale signs that the city will not repeat the mistakes of the past.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency on Sunday. Residents began making preparations to leave town that same day.
"We hope Isaac turns the other way," said TJ Sullivan. "We don't need any more devastation."
Gov. Jindal had already called for a voluntary evacuation of the 15 parishes in low-lying areas of the state. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu also declared a state of emergency for the city.
"Obviously, like with every storm, we always hope for the best even as we prepare for the worst," Jindal said.
Sunday marked the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which inundated New Orleans.
"The timing of the storm coming on, as fate would have it, the anniversary of Katrina, has everybody in a state and sense of alertness," said Landrieu. "And that is a good thing."
Tourists enjoying the city's famed French Quarter were also taking heed.
"If we have to stay somewhere farther away or cut our trip short then we will," said Houstonian Renee Stonecipher.