“The people we know in the city. They’ve lost power and we’ve lost contact with those folks,” said Mark Orfila, who is dogsitting in Estes Park.
He and his wife, Kelley, arrived in Colorado last week after they were asked to dogsit for friends who would be traveling until mid-September. Before leaving New Orleans, there was no indication that Hurricane Ida was on the radar, so they left without prepping their home for the storm.
“Evacuating is an expensive thing. We were fortunate to be here, ’cause it’s not that easy to get out,” Orfila said.
He said neighbors along with the couple’s son were able to go over and secure the home. Still anxious being away, the couple kept an eye on their Ring doorbell camera the majority of Sunday afternoon to see how their home was handling the storm.
“In a lot of ways, it’s a more intense storm than Katrina, but I’m hopeful there will be less flooding and loss of life because the levees and all that have been shored up,” he said.
The couple’s main concern is their family and friends who decided to stay and sit out the storm. They said another concern is their wedding photos, their home and other sentimental items.
“In New Orleans, there is a lot of good people who look out for each other. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about looting,” Orfila said.
The couple plans to return to New Orleans in mid-September, but they said that now depends on possible damage to their home. He said if the city is without power for the next few weeks and there is minimal damage to their home, they will try and extend their trip. But he said if there is major damage to their home, they will head back earlier than expected.
But for now, they are finding refuge in Colorado.
“We’re using the beauty of this place to distract us. If we get too much anxiety, we use the mountains and the deer and the elk and all that to relax,” Orfila said.