Hurricane Ida brings back painful Katrina memories for local restaurant owner

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – The physical effects of Hurricane Ida on the panhandle have been mild compared to Louisiana, but the mental effects have been intense for some.

Trudy White, who owns “Dat Cajun Place” in Panama City Beach, endured Hurricane Katrina back in 2005 and had her house completely wiped out by it.

She and her husband decided to move to Bay County afterwards, rather than rebuild, but they still have family in an area devastated by Ida.

“The fact that it happened on the same day as Katrina, it’s very emotional because it’s like living through that again,” White said. “If you didn’t live through it you don’t understand, but it’s horrific.”

White also said she could not sleep Sunday night because she had not yet heard from her family and friends who were in the path of the storm, but luckily had good news Monday.

“I finally just heard from my family about two hours ago,” White said. “Everybody’s safe as far as I know.”

They are partnering with the disaster relief organization “Comeback Coolers” to help however they can.

“We’re going to be collecting coolers,” White said. “People write messages on them, they decorate them, and we fill them up with supplies, with water and things like that.”

White said that they are headed to Louisiana this weekend and will hopefully have at least 100 coolers.

The head of the Florida chapter of “Comeback Coolers” Aimee Gilmer said that they are partnering with many local businesses and schools to collect donations.

Current drop-off locations include “Dat Cajun Place”, the Sheraton of Bay Point, the House of Henry, as well as a few Bay district schools, such as Southport elementary.

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