Hurricanes typically bring mass evacuations. Shelters are set up for those to take refuge but some decide to travel and remove themselves from the chaos. During Hurricane Katrina, lots of New Orleans residents decided to wait the storm out in Florida. Now they find themselves repaying the favor. Many Floridians took the drive to New Orleans
The Baer family made the choice to wait the storm out in Florida. “I feel relieved. Safe like we are on an evacuation,” said Florida evacuee, Rick Baer. “We were afraid to be in the house with no electricity, possibly stranded, having to evacuate with four little ones.” said Tiffany Davis Baer. With reasons like that you can easily see why thousands of others made that same choice.
This past weekend the city’s parking garages were at capacity. Most of the cars bearing Florida license plates. “Pretty much every garage we have over the weekend has been full,” said Jacob Micas, the Parking Manager at the City’s Parking Management Services. Micas also states that the Parking Management Services operates most of the privately-owned garages downtown and in the city’s Central Business District. The spots that are typically available for locals will all be occupied.
The Parking Management Services has opened an additional parking garage and has also provided shuttle services to help mitigate the problems stemming from the lack of available parking. “The parking service says they will also put up signs to alert people of the situation and where they could find extra parking.” The visitors have created a major parking shortage but the city hopes residents will keep in mind what these people are going through. Parking shortage is nothing compared to what Florida is going through.
The Baer family remains optimistic about their homecoming. “We are mostly concerned about wind damage and not flooding damage. Hopefully, everything has gone right,” said Rick Baer. “We’ve been saying we are the best at making lemonade out of lemons. We just hope when we get home the house is fine,” added his wife Tiffany Davis Baer. The residents of New Orleans undoubtedly wish for the safe return of the Floridians, and their parking back.