His main concern, he said, is whether the levees hold up.
“We would not be talking about Katrina had the levees not broke,” he said, explaining that it was the failure of the flood protection structure, not the strength of the storm, that wreaked havoc 14 summers ago.
The family had already stocked up with canned ravioli, Gatorade and “water for days,” Mr. Thomas said. They, too, had a backup plan: In the case of an evacuation order or a lengthy loss of power, they would head to Mr. Thomas’s father’s home north of Hattiesburg, Miss.
Volunteers pitched in to make sandbags, and soon ran out.
About a dozen people stood in line outside a baseball field tucked in a mostly residential part of New Orleans, as a handful of volunteers shoveled sand into bags before handing them to neighbors and strangers on Friday.
The volunteer sandbag operation came together when Ben Markey, the owner of the Mid City Yacht Club, a bar across the street from the ballpark, picked up the bags. Then a friend of his who owns a logistics company dumped a load of sand near the batting area.
They started handing out sandbags about 7:30 a.m., said Mr. Markey, 43. Social media and local news reports soon spread the word, and about three hours and 200 sandbags later, they’d run out.
Patrick Staunton, a neighbor, was among those shoveling. “I feel guilty we don’t have more,” he said.