New Orleans Evacuee Looks to Return Home

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Alex Chadwick speaks to Katie Lasky, one of the estimated 380,000 people who evacuated from New Orleans ahead of Hurricane Katrina, about what she knows of any damage to her home and when she might be able to return home.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

Estimates are that 370,000 people evacuated from New Orleans, about 80 percent of the city. That number would include Katie Lasky. She's a New Orleans resident, but we've reached her in Lafayette. That's a couple of hundred miles west of New Orleans.

Katie, I guess you're in Youngsville, actually, near Lafayette but not in it.

Ms. KATIE LASKY (Evacuee): Yes, it's a small town outside of Lafayette.

CHADWICK: You and your husband evacuated Saturday. You took a few things with you. What have you heard about what's going on in your neighborhood?

Ms. LASKY: Well, what we've heard particular to our neighborhood unfortunately was from our alarm company, to let us know that a door had blown in at our house--we believe it has blown in. A door has opened, and we haven't heard of any flooding in our neighborhood. We're on a little bit of a ridge, so we're hoping that if the levees continue to hold--I know some have not, but most have--that we will be OK for flooding. But we really don't know at this point, and are just sort of anxious to hear more local information about our neighborhood.

CHADWICK: In Youngsville there, where you are, is it jammed with people from New Orleans who've tried to get away?

Ms. LASKY: There are--this is a very small town, but in Lafayette, where we drove into yesterday to get some food and supplies, there were a lot of people, a lot of people passing through. We're fairly close to New Orleans. I think this was probably one of the closest places you could come and feel safe, because we are still in where the tropical storm warning was. But I know of a few friends of mine who are in the Lafayette area. A lot of people have family here, so they come here.

CHADWICK: When are you planning on trying to go back?

Ms. LASKY: Oh, as soon as possible. We're just trying to wait and hopefully the mayor will get on the news and there'll be some communications with the city and somebody will be able to tell us what roads are passable and when we can get home. You know, our plan is to get home, assess the situation at our house and potentially leave again if we don't have power.

CHADWICK: And you say your alarm company called to say that they know your door has blown open.

Ms. LASKY: Yes, but that the New Orleans Police Department is not accepting any calls and will not be dispatching anything.

CHADWICK: So all you know is your home is standing with the front door open, and maybe there's water there, maybe there's not. I mean, it must be pretty anxious for you.

Ms. LASKY: It is. It is. I'm just hoping for the best and, you know, we're lucky we're here. Our family's all here and, you know, `Everything can be replaced' is what I keep telling myself, and I'll have to tell myself that again when I see the house.

CHADWICK: Have you managed to call anyone back in the city?

Ms. LASKY: No. I can't even get through to people who aren't in the city but who have local cell phones.

CHADWICK: So what do you think, another day anyway where you are before you can even figure out how to get back?

Ms. LASKY: Yes, I think so. I hope that in the morning, we'll know more and that we may be able to try to head home. We're not as far as Houston or any other parts in Texas, so I hope that we'll be able to maybe beat the rush and just get home and assess the situation and then see where we go from there.

CHADWICK: New Orleans resident Katie Lasky, speaking with us from Youngsville, Louisiana.

Katie, thank you and good luck.

Ms. LASKY: Thank you.

CHADWICK: I'm Alex Chadwick. Stay with us on DAY TO DAY from NPR News.

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