Within three hours, all of the bags had been picked up by nervous residents like Monique Hodges and her 9-year-old son, Christian, who planned to stack them in front of their home’s doors. Ms. Hodges wasn’t sure the sandbags would help if the city began to flood, but she didn’t want to just sit at home.
“You have to make yourself feel like you’re doing something in preparation,” she said.
Mario Perez, who shares a double shotgun house in Mid-City with his daughter and her children, hacked at tree branches on Friday. He said he hoped the trimming would prevent his home from losing power for too long when high winds started rattling trees.
Mr. Perez rode out Katrina in 2005, and said he wasn’t too worried about Barry. Water rose about a foot and a half up his front porch this week, but it didn’t get inside. He expected some flooding, but said he planned to stay in his house to keep an eye on things.
“It’s hard, but what can you do?” Mr. Perez said.
On Bourbon Street, tourists still milled about as storefront sentries shouted out, “Hurricane specials here!” But there seemed slightly less of the “let the good times roll” attitude that characterizes the French Quarter.
“I wanted to turn back,” said Tammy Huff, who was visiting New Orleans from Georgia with her sister and their combined six children. “I just don’t want to get caught in the flood.”
That sense of concern was shared by Jill Odom, a bartender at Johnny White’s Bar on Bourbon Street, which was set to close earlier than usual to usher employees home before the rain began in earnest.
“It looks like a lot of business owners aren’t taking it as lightly as they have in the past,” said Ms. Odom, who moved to New Orleans in 2006. “I think it’s because of the flooding. The city has not been able to keep us dry.”