New Orleans evacuees in Memphis grateful, unsure of future after hurricane


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As the clean-up and recovery begins in New Orleans after Hurricane Ida, several families who took shelter in Memphis were not sure Tuesday when they can return home.

But both families said they’re grateful they evacuated when they did.

Eugene and Adrian Anderson relocated from Memphis to New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina. Since then Eugene said he’s encountered many storms, but with a wife and two young children this time it was different.

“Thank God we left at the time we did,” he said. “As this storm started to intensify, I give all props to my wife, I was going to stay and she said, ‘No, let’s get out of here. Let’s go!’”

It was quite the opposite for Shahriar Motazdian. He moved to New Orleans with his brother for medical school just a few weeks ago.

“As a newcomer you don’t know how to deal with these things,” Motazdian said. But he quickly learned just how serious this storm was.

“I think the first panic was when we decided to fill our cars up with gas and there was no gas anywhere in our area,” he said.

Both families packed up and left for Memphis, about a 400-mile drive north, early Saturday morning.

Since then, they’ve had a chance to see exactly what Hurricane Ida did to their community. The powerful storm knocked out power to thousands bringing heavy rains and strong wind in its path.

They’ve each since checked in with those who stayed and said they have minimal property damage.

“We’re blessed that at least our house is still there. We look at it as a blessing that we’ll have a place to go back to eventually when we go back to New Orleans,” Eugene Anderson said.

They are thankful they could get out in the first place.

“The drive coming back to Memphis and seeing the Memphis sunset,” Motazdian said. “We got here around 7:30. It was a relief to have this place to come back to.”

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