By Contessa Brewer, MSNBC correspondent and anchor
Michelle Bourgeois came to New Orleans from San Fransisco to help evacuate her mother who has Alzheimer's. So during the overnight hours, Michelle and her sister combed through their mom's heirlooms, paintings, crystal and collectibles. They stored some in the sister's home, in a protected closet, in the sub-zero refrigerator, hoping that when the storm subsides, they'll return to find those precious items undamaged.
Then they loaded up their mom, her wheelchair, her nurse, an uncle and began their evacuation to Meridian, Miss. Normally, they say that drive is four hours. Now, they're approaching eight hours, and expect to go another four. They've tried back roads, going west in order to go east, but the traffic, they say, is intense.
Michelle tells me she's seeing long lines at gas stations; she estimates the average line length is ten cars. I've heard numerous similar stories. What's supposed to be an hour-long drive to Baton Rouge took six hours for one New Orleans family.
But over and over, I hear the same reasoning, "We want to be safe." As Michelle told me, "My sister and I just want to know, we've done everything we could."