Isaac stirs up emotions for woman displaced to Milwaukee by Katrina

MILWAUKEE -- Isaac is quickly bringing back memories and emotions for those who went through Hurricane Katrina. The storm is on track to make landfall in the Louisiana/New Orleans area Tuesday, August 28th -- the same week that marks the seven-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. One woman saw her life completely change as a result of Katrina. It brought her to Milwaukee -- a place she now calls home.

As Isaac moves through the Gulf of Mexico and zeroes in on New Orleans, Erin Dempsey can't help but feel a bit of deja vu.

"It brings up all of those old emotions and stirs them around a lot. The storm track looks so similar. It's all those floods of emotions that you had at the time when it happened seven years ago, all rushing back, kind of intermixed. It's really weird," Dempsey said.

Dempsey was a freshman at Loyola University in New Orleans and had just moved into the dorms a day before Hurricane Katrina slammed into the city.

"We packed up for the weekend and I just thought I was going to be gone for an extended period -- miss my first day of class," Dempsey said.

Instead, the school shut down for the semester and Dempsey found her way to Marquette University.

"It's shaped me. It's shaped my life. Because of Hurricane Katrina, I am who I am today because of that storm," Dempsey said.

Part of what shaped her was returning to help those in New Orleans 10 weeks after Katrina destroyed so much.

"One of the most potent smells I remember is at a house (where) we pulled out a 500-pound freezer full of shrimp that had not been opened since the storm. That was everywhere though," Dempsey said.

Now, Dempsey is hoping Isaac is just stirring up emotions and not wreaking havoc on a city that hasn't forgotten Katrina.

"I think it's important to take a deep breath and say a prayer for the people who are there hoping that they'll get out safely and just hoping and praying that this won't be a repeat of Katrina," Dempsey said.

Dempsey and another friend who went through Hurricane Katrina started an organization that takes students down to the Gulf region to help with rebuilding efforts. She says she'll stay in touch with friends who are there through Facebook and social media as Isaac comes through.

In September, Dempsey is set to marry her fiance, whom she met in Milwaukee -- a place she never would have come if not for Katrina. The wedding will take place in her home state of New Mexico.

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