Thousands leave New Orleans ahead of Tropical Storm Isaac

7k forced to evacuate Plaquemines Parish

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

NEW ORLEANS - Thousands of people were forced to evacuate low-lying parishes south of New Orleans as Tropical Storm Isaac neared.

Many heeded the warnings to leave town, but some had no choice and are finding refuge in the few shelters that are open.

"When the warning come out, just put your clothes in and hope for the best," said Shawn Atkins.

Atkins is all too familiar with packing up and leaving home.

"I'm used to it from Katrina. This is routine but it's something to get used to," said Atkins.

About 7,000 people were ordered to evacuate from lower Plaquemines Parish on Monday. Those with nowhere to go were crowding into shelters, like the one at the Belle Chasse Auditorium.

"It's not much fun, but we have to do what we have to do in the shelter," said Rev. Quinton Washington.

Everyone at the shelter was registered and given a place to sleep and food. There was even a makeshift emergency room, all watched over by National Guardsmen.

"That's the good thing we know that all of us is safe and all of us is secure right now," said Rev. Washington.

Unfortunately, dogs aren't allowed inside the shelter. They have to go to an animal shelter. It's a safe place, but that doesn't make Condita Duplessis' separation from her dog, Big Mama, any easier.

"I had her for twelve, she's 12-years-old, since she was a puppy," said Duplessis.

Plaquemines Parish opened three shelters and officials said they have enough supplies to care for those who are staying until the storm passes.

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