Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Isaac makes landfall in Louisiana

With whitecaps kicking up on Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans, some daring sightseers take in the effects of Hurricane Isaac late Tuesday afternoon on Lakeshore Drive. The worst of the storm was still hours away.

Associated Press

With whitecaps kicking up on Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans, some daring sightseers take in the effects of Hurricane Isaac late Tuesday afternoon on Lakeshore Drive. The worst of the storm was still hours away.

NEW ORLEANS

Hurricane Isaac charged ashore near the mouth of the Mississippi River Tuesday night with 80 mph winds and a storm surge that forecasters feared could reach 12 feet — a test of the improvements made to New Orleans' levee system after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Isaac, which at one point sped across the Gulf of Mexico at more than 15 mph, downshifted to only 8 mph before its ragged eye made landfall at 7:45 p.m. EDT about 95 miles from New Orleans. Forecasters say the massive storm, a Category 1 that stretched 200 miles wide, will be a major rainmaker, and the slower it moves the more rain it will dump. Some areas could see 20 inches.

Florida Panhandle beaches were getting pounded by crashing waves and high winds. Several counties in the Panhandle were under tropical storm, tornado and flash food warnings and watches throughout the night.

After making landfall, Isaac flicked high-powered storm bands toward Mississippi and New Orleans throughout the evening. Gusts were measured at more than 100 mph in some areas. By late Tuesday, more than 230,000 homes and businesses had lost power in southeastern Louisiana.

The brunt of Isaac was expected to push through New Orleans sometime after midnight — seven years to the day after Katrina launched its assault on the city.

Though residents may get some idea of the damage with the light of morning, the storm may stew over the Gulf Coast for several days.

The response from residents and tourists along the Gulf Coast ranged from deadly serious to I-could-care-less comic.

Some residents left town because they feared a disaster akin to Katrina, even though Isaac wasn't nearly as formidable a storm and the levees that gave way in 2005 have been strengthened with a $14.5 billion, 133-mile ring of levees, flood walls, gates and pumps.

"I don't really trust the levees," said Robert Washington, who planned to evacuate from his home in the Ninth Ward along with his wife and five children. "I don't want to take that chance. I saw how it looked after Katrina back here."

Bars, restaurants and shops across the city were shuttered, but the French Quarter had a pulse that was missing in other districts, even as the wind picked up around dark.

Olde Nawlins' was serving up fried shrimp and crawfish fettuccine to a crowd that was a bit bigger than a normal Tuesday night. A handful of bars pitched "hurricane party" on sandwich signs.

On Bourbon Street, a man who had fashioned a shirt and skirt out of trash bags climbed atop a convertible Jeep filled with college-age boys and performed a sexual dance while blowing a whistle. A small crowd stopped to watch and shouted for more.

New Orleans wasn't the only area in danger.

Tens of thousands of people were told to leave low-lying areas, including 700 patients of Louisiana nursing homes. In Houma, a city southwest of New Orleans, people filled a municipal auditorium-turned-shelter.

Evacuations were ordered in Mississippi's coastal counties and its 12 shorefront casinos were ordered closed.

The Palace Casino Resort asked its two remaining customers to leave at 8 a.m., said manager Keith Crosby, manager.

"Like any retail business, you can't replace a day of lost revenue," Crosby said. "At the same time, we had 32 feet of water during Katrina. So letting employees go home is a no-brainer."

Fifteen minutes inland, Michael Morris, 49, smoked a Camel cigarette and lounged in pajama pants on the front porch of his double-wide.

"If it gets bad enough, I'll sit on this porch. I built this porch, so I know it's sturdy," said Morris, a roofer. "I like a good storm, not a killer storm."

Times staff writers Ben Montgomery and Brittany Alana Davis contributed to this report, which includes information from the Associated Press and the New York Times.

Isaac makes landfall in Louisiana 08/28/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 6:42am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Arcade Fire open hearts, play with passion at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa

    Blogs

    Gloves off, hearts open and disco balls glittering, Arcade Fire scaled the stage for the first time ever in Tampa, pouncing and flailing and performing with all the passion that’s made them one of the world’s most celebrated rock bands this century.

    Arcade Fire performed at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Sept. 22, 2017.
  2. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  4. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs this season while improving his defense and baserunning but wants to improve on his .236 batting average.
  5. Fennelly: Lightning's Manon Rheaume made history 25 years ago Saturday

    Lightning Strikes

    The name is part of Lightning history, hockey history, sports history.

    Lightning goalie Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an NHL game 25 years ago today.