NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Dawn broke in New Orleans with lighter winds and people in one Uptown neighborhood came out in intermittent rain to begin cleaning up and just walk around. Police cars patrolled, but no city or power company crews were evident there early Thursday.
Sixty-seven-year-old Hal Mumford wasn't waiting for city workers to clean up the street outside his house. Feeling cooped up after two nights without power, he raked fallen branches away from a catch basin so water could drain out of the gutters.
George Escher, 60, came out to give his two small dogs their first walk since the storm hit. He says Isaac has been mostly an inconvenience, though his dogs were spooked when a tree fell on the house — and the humidity has caused problems with his hearing aids. He says it could have been a lot worse for his family.
Dr. Thomas Burguieres, a 62-year-old emergency room doctor from Bethesda, Md., had flown from Washington to spend several days at his family home in New Orleans and got trapped. Due in the ER on Friday, he planned to drive to Jackson, Miss., to try to catch a flight back to Washington.
There were other signs of life in the city as well.
More cars were on the streets and several people were seen outside trying to assess the damage, if any, that Isaac left in its wake.
In the Lakeview neighborhood, about a block from the 17th Street Canal — the site of one of the catastrophic levee breaches that inundated New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina — John Daigle, 57, stood outside his house a block from a floodwall and pumping station built by the Army Corps of Engineers after the 2005 storm.
Daigle, who bought the house after Katrina, said he couldn't help but feel anxious before Isaac's landfall though he was confident the levee system would hold up after the government spent billions of dollars to shore it up.
"They passed the test as far as I'm concerned," he said.
Daigle had put several bags of mulch outside his home to ward off street flooding but they proved to be unnecessary.
In the Lower Garden District, Mowgli Pierlas, general manager of the Slice pizzeria on St. Charles Ave., hauled thousands of dollars' worth of pizza toppings including frozen shrimp, sausage and produce to a Mexican restaurant under the same ownership. He hoped to borrow freezer space so the food wouldn't spoil before power came back on St. Charles Ave.
The Mexican restaurant is on the same grid as a hospital, "so they get power back first," Pierlas said.