New Orleans residents know what it's like to be displaced by a hurricane and are now opening up their short term rentals to Irma evacuees for free. One family taking advantage of the hospitality barely escaped Florida in time.
The Jackson family has lived in Florida for decades but they've never evacuated for a hurricane before.
"We had so many near misses and over preparing and nothing's coming so a lot of us don't take it that serious," Twilight Jackson said.
This time was different.
"It looks like it's going to be very dangerous," Twilight said about the approaching storm. Hurricane Irma is expected to make landfall in Miami Sunday morning and travel up the entire state of Florida. The Jackson family packed up the car and left Fort Lauderdale Thursday afternoon.
"Oh it was crazy," Harvye Jackson said. "We almost didn't get out."
They encountered gas lines, empty grocery store shelves, and constant traffic on the drive to New Orleans.
"It normally takes 11 hours but it took 16 to 17 hours," Harvey said.
In the midst of so much uncertainty, they had a free house waiting for them when they arrived, thanks to an Airbnb evacuee program.
"It's a blessing," Harvey said. "It really is a blessing to be able to have somewhere to go, to wake up this morning and have shelter."
Jordan Jacobs owns the short term rental property. He rented the house out for free last year to Baton Rouge flood victims. He was happy to do it again.
The Jackson family is anxious to get back to Fort Lauderdale soon.
"I really hate the fact we had to leave but we'll be returning," Harvey said. "We'll be going back to Florida."
Until then, they have a home away from home free of charge.
AirBnB was already offering free rentals to Harvey victims and is now extending the program to the newest hurricane evacuees. AirBnB is recommending Irma evacuees try to get to Tallahassee, Pensacola or New Orleans
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