NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans residents are hoping to ride out Hurricane Isaac.

Tens of thousands of people were told to leave low-lying areas of Mississippi and Louisiana, including 700 patients of Louisiana nursing homes. And Mississippi shut down the state's 12 shorefront casinos.

But there was no mandatory evacuation for the Big Easy. Still, resident Tracy Smith decided that she and her family would be safer at a hotel near the French Quarter than staying at home.

Resident Margaret Thomas was trapped for a week in her home by Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters seven years ago. But she feels more at ease this time. Thomas says "Isaac is the son of Abraham." She says, "It's a special name. That means God will protect us."

Isaac does promise to make more solemn today's commemoration ceremonies for Katrina's 1,800 dead in Louisiana and Mississippi.