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Hurricane Isaac makes landfall

Remembering the lessons learned in 2005, Gulf Coast residents were quick to prepare for Hurricane Isaac, which made landfall on the eve of seventh anniversary of Hurrican Katrina last night.
Photo Courtesy: Alysia Steele

As residents braced for Isaac’s impact, which made landfall in southeast Louisiana Tuesday at 6:45 p.m., the scars from Hurricane Katrina still ran deep in Biloxi. Empty lots and auction signs pepper the shoreline.
Seven years ago Randell Broussard looked beyond his porch and saw apartments; today he sees only dark clouds and white-capped waves. The storm reached land with winds near 80 mph and threatens to flood the coasts of four states, including Mississippi, with storm surge and heavy rain.
Katrina changed many things for the worse in this coastal town. Homes and businesses were completely wiped out, and the town’s lucrative casinos were either blown or washed away.
The damage was done, but the lesson in the midst of Hurricane Isaac has been rewarding.
When Broussard made the decision to rebuild his home in 2005, he made a critical choice: to build higher.
“I brought 6,000 yards of a clay (and) sand mix in here, brought the land up, this was all back filled, chain walled with rebar,” Broussard said.
Broussard is not the only Biloxian to have made such an investment. Local businesses such as Sharkheads and Sharper’s Seafood Restaurant use stilts to protect their beachfront businesses.
These changes come only five months after Mississippi was ranked last in building standards of all hurricane-prone states by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.
For Broussard, it’s a lesson better learned than lost.
Biloxians aren’t the only ones who look back on that August day in 2005 with mournful memories, but a better idea of preparing for future storms.
Business sophomore J.J. Townsend from Long Beach didn’t evacuate for Hurricane Katrina even though he and his family lived between four and five miles away from the beach.
“Thankfully, we didn’t have too much destruction in our area,” he said.
Townsend said he hardly had a chance to see damage along the beach since the railroad crossing leading to the area was guarded.
“They had the national guard and other officers that pretty much blocked it off,” he said.
While Katrina was a category five hurricane before it made landfall and Issac is only a category one, Townsend said he understands Gulf Coast residents’ concerns.
“Since Hurricane Katrina, I think they, Coasties, hear about any type of storm, whether it’s a category one or something minor, I think they should take caution.”

Campus news editor Jennifer Nassar and The Associated Press contributed to this report.