Isaac Follows Track of Katrina, Evacuations Ordered for Coast
TAMPA, Florida -- As the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall approaches, New Orleans -- and much of the Gulf Coast -- is preparing to put into practice the lessons learned from that defining storm.

Tropical Storm Isaac is following a path eerily similar to Katrina's in 2005.

There are some obvious differences -- Isaac is much weaker than Katrina -- but the storm nonetheless will require Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi to execute emergency management plans that were partly shaped by the Katrina.

Thousands in the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Monday were told to evacuate their Gulf Coast homes.

But Ryan Unger, of St. Charles Parish, next to New Orleans, is one of the residents planning to stay in place despite an evacuation order. He filled up tanks Sunday night in case he has to run his generator.

"Starting to get a little sense of anxiety, like, OK, am I ready for it?" he said. "Realizing we ain't really ready for a storm. So we're just all thinking about what we gotta to do get in place to get ready for it."

On Monday morning Isaac was centered about 360 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. It is forecast to become a hurricane "in a day or so," the National Hurricane Center said.

The governors of the three imperiled states each declared an emergency, with Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley ordering mandatory evacuations for residents who live along the coast and for those in some low-lying areas inland.

"I am urging everyone to take precautions now, monitor weather warnings, and be prepared for whatever Isaac may bring," Bentley said in a statement released Sunday.

Some 9,000 residents in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana were ordered to evacuate Monday morning. The towns of Jean Lafitte, Crown Point and Barataria are affected.

"We're worried about tidal surge," Jean Lafitte Mayor Tim Kerner said.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called on residents in coastal parishes prone to flooding to voluntarily evacuate. A mandatory evacuation was ordered for St. Charles Parish and for parts of Plaquemines Parish.

Even pro football player Courtney Roby of New Orleans Saints was a little nervous.

"Kinda a scary feeling of uncertainty," he said via Twitter.

A hurricane warning was issued for the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, from Morgan City, Louisiana, east to Destin, Florida, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm was expected to make landfall late Tuesday or Wednesday, coinciding with the seventh anniversary of the arrival of the much stronger Hurricane Katrina.

Isaac's strength was holding steady Monday as it moved at 14 mph through the warm gulf waters, about 360 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, forecasters said. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, according to a hurricane center advisory.

The storm is "getting a little better organized" as it moves over the Gulf of Mexico, the center said.

In the coastal Mississippi city of Pass Christian, people were moving their boats to higher ground and preparing their homes.

"Lookin' like we're gonna be ground zero again," said Daryl Vaught, as he prepared to place sandbags in front of his doors and garage.