Local Families Worry About Relatives In The Gulf

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BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a time of waiting and worrying for people in the Boston area who have family in New Orleans. And for a Hyde Park couple, this is the second time they’ve been through it.

“Not much sleep last night, not much sleep at all seven years ago,” says Lynnell Thomas. And it’s been a long day today for Lynnell and her husband Phillip Andrews, glued to the TV in their home, trying to keep in touch with relatives and friends in New Orleans. “They’re at a point where they’re just kind of nervous because they’ve seen the flooding, they hear the wind, they see the rain,” says Phillip.

So far phone calls and texts are getting through so they have some peace of mind. They’ve even received video email from one relative. But Lynnell and Phil know they can’t really help. “That’s tough, that’s tough,” says Phil.

They’ve both been there before. Phillip was trapped in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Lynnell was in Boston, starting work as a UMass professor. “There was a period of three days where I didn’t hear from him. Part of it does feel a little bit like deja vu,” says Lynnell.

Even though they can’t do much more than wait, they’re holding on to hope. “The man-made disaster of Hurricane Katrina is what I didn’t want to be repeated,” says Lynnell. “I don’t know the engineering of it, but I can hope that they got it right this time,” says Phil.

The couple’s biggest concern is that the storm is moving so slowly that the rains will overwhelm the region.

Herrin Batiste Recalls Katrina

It took Herrin Batiste several hours to reach his brothers in New Orleans, and when he finally did, they were among the half a million people without electricity.

“I got down on my knees and prayed hoping everything is alright with them,” said the survivor of Hurricane Katrina exactly seven years ago.

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports

With Hurricane Isaac the memories of Katrina are flooding back. Batiste moved to Boston just months after he lost much of what he owned in Katrina when he remembers the flood waters just kept coming.

“The storm went by, the sun came out just like it is today,” Herrin says. “All of a sudden an hour later the water came, water coming down the road.”

While Isaac may not be as powerful as Katrina the potential for rising water still worries him. “That’s what I was concerned about, are the levees going to hold all that water,” he wonders.

The levees seem to have passed the test this time, unlike seven years ago when residents were sent to their rooftops.

But in Isaac’s devastated areas Batiste knows the worry. “I imagine what they’re going through,” he says. “They’re crying and thinking about their property and their family.”

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano contributed to this report.

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