Tourists flee city ahead of Isaac


Posted on August 27, 2012 at 6:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 29 at 7:03 PM

Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

NEW ORLEANS -- From the casual visitor to the conventioneer, there are always many tourists in the Crescent City, and they have been watching the news and weather reports as well, to form a plan of action.

The normal bustling French Market is barren, not a vendor or shopper in site. Out in front of the Hilton Hotel, downtown, the busiest people are those bringing in the decorative plants. The valet attendants aren't as busy as usual, but it was a different picture Sunday.

"Since yesterday, a lot of people, like, just canceled the reservation or just came in for one day. A lot of people decided, that are supposed to be checking out today, they decided to leave yesterday to avoid all the traffic," said George Urcache, who is a valet parking attendant at the Hilton.

One cab driver agrees, the mass exodus was Sunday.

"Just a lot of people leaving, getting ready to leave early, making early preparations, I guess to get out of town to make sure they beat this storm and don't get caught in traffic or nothing like that or miss their flights," said Terrence Matthews, a Cab Driver in New Orleans.

All the people we spoke with are either driving home or they already had their airline tickets and that's important because an airport spokeswoman said that there are no extra seats available. In order to get on a plane, you must already have your airline ticket.

A visitor from Chicago already had her train ticket for today.

"I would be concerned if I didn't have a reservation because I would think some people that live here would be getting the train to go someplace else," said visitor Orleans Faibvre, who was waiting for a cab to the train station.

A group of French women were walking down Canal Street pulling suitcases and were headed to catch a shuttle to the airport. They loved seeing their homeland's influence in the Crescent City, but are going to miss other parts of Louisiana.

"We were planning to go to Houma, the bayous, but we got a bit, not really scared, I mean it's not like panic, but you know, we just, we're heading north instead, so Natchez and maybe Memphis. We'll see," said Angelika Cianciolo who is visiting from her home in Paris.

An airport spokeswoman also tells us that the airport will be shut down Tuesday and travelers will not be allowed to camp out in the terminal.