LANCASTER (CBS 11 NEWS) – With New Orleans once again in the bull’s eye of a hurricane, Jarrett Brinson didn’t hesitate to pack up his family and hit the road.
“I’m 100-percent glad,” he said. “One hundred percent glad that I made the decision to leave, even if [Isaac] doesn’t cause any damage.”
Seven years ago, Brinson lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. He underestimated the power of the storm and never thought about the long-term impact on his family.
“I didn’t take anything because I thought I’d be right back. I looked at it as a mini-vacation,” Jarrett said looking back on his actions. “It’s shocking to watch your city go into the sea.”
Now, Brinson is a father of three. And with so much precious cargo to protect, no one was willing to take any chances.
“Anytime they say ‘Tropical Storm’, ‘Category 1’, we always leave,” his wife Dwana Brinson said, “especially with them.”
The ‘them’ are their three daughters: ages 10, 7 and 3. The eldest, Chanaiyah, only remembers being away from home for a “long time” post-Katrina. But, the other two are oblivious — preferring to think of their escape from New Orleans as an impromptu vacation and their parents want to keep it that way.
The Brinson’s are confident that they’ve done the safest thing for their family. Still, they worry about other relatives who refused to leave.
Jarrett says even if the city doesn’t take a direct hit, the aftermath will be difficult with residents facing “days without power.”
The Brinson’s didn’t think twice about packing everything they could carry and heading to Jarrett’s sisters place in Lancaster. She came to North Texas as a Katrina evacuee and decided to stay because of the opportunities to be found in North Texas.
But, Jarrett says his stay will be temporary. In spite of the all night drive and days spent sleeping on air mattresses on the floor; he says the hurried evacuation is just part of life living on the Gulf.
The family knows they may have to do it all again somebody. But, Jarrett says, he’ll always go back to New Orleans.
“It’s just home,” he said plainly, “it’s just home.”
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