Akron Hurricane Katrina evacuee watching Tropical Storm Isaac closely

Akron man has daughter, cousin in New Orleans area

AKRON, Ohio - An Akron man, who lived through Hurricane Katrina in 2005, is watching Tropical Storm Isaac closely and praying that his relatives in the New Orleans area are safe.

As Isaac began to hammer the Gulf Coast on Wednesday, Eric Howell, 54, tried to call his 12-year-old daughter, Nadjia Overton, in Louisiana, but wasn't able to reach her. Howell also has a cousin and an uncle living in the area.

"I'm praying that they can get through this and that it won't be devastating like it was the last time. I feel for them," Howell said.

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Howell, who served six years with Marines Corps and the U.S. Army, moved to Belle Chasse, Louisiana in 1997 and said he'll never forget the destruction left behind by Hurricane Katrina -- even a month later.

"Caskets were floating around. Animals were floating around. Houses didn't stay at their foundations. It was so bad that people didn't know where their homes were," Howell said.

Katrina killed more than 1,800 people and caused an estimated $81 billion in damage.

Howell, a native Akronite, eventually moved back to the Rubber City and has decided to stay home.

"I've never been through nothing like that," explained Howell. "For me, being from Ohio, I thought it was (going to be) just a real hard rainstorm. When they issued a hurricane, I was naive to what that really was."

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