No Escape from Katrina's Power

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Earl White drove from Louisiana north to Mississippi, trying to miss the worst of Hurricane Katrina. He found that he couldn't really escape the force of the storm.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

Louisiana's governor is ordering storm refugees to leave New Orleans because of rising floodwaters. Before the storm, Earl White and his wife drove to his sister's home in Jackson, Mississippi.

Mr. EARL WHITE (New Orleans Resident): We thought we'd be back in three or four days. This would be another one of those. And then when we got up on Sunday morning, all of a sudden things had changed. We had a hundred and seventy-five-mile-an-hour hurricane aimed directly at New Orleans. And we were just thankful that we had gotten out of New Orleans. So as the storm was coming through, we decided to lay down and rest Monday in the bedroom that we were staying in. All of a sudden, there's this big crash. I opened my eyes and there's this huge tree trunk about four feet above my head. The storm was so violent when it had gotten to Jackson, Mississippi, which is a hundred and fifty miles inland from the coast, that it was just snapping and blowing trees down everywhere, and one happened to fall across my sister's house. So I have another sister that lives up near Memphis. So we packed up and came up here. And, oh, it's been a trip, to say the least.

MONTAGNE: Earl White says he and his wife have been numbed by the destruction they've seen.

Mr. WHITE: This is just so traumatic. It's overwhelming. To be honest with you, I think the thing that I'm most upset about was that we had to leave our three cats. And even though I thought at the time we were going to be gone for about three or four days, I left them enough food to last three weeks to a month. But I don't know if that's going to do it.

MONTAGNE: New Orleans resident Earl White spoke to use from his sister's home in Byhalia, Mississippi.

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