19-year old Kylie Novasel was born and raised in Stateline, California.
She says living by Lake Tahoe, there was never any concern about hurricanes... until last Saturday.
"It's pretty surreal. I watch them scan out and I recognize street signs and it and it just doesn't seem like the same town."
Kylie Novasel is back at work at the Ski Run Boat Company in Stateline, California.
It was supposed to be her second day back in class at Tulane University in New Orleans.
"We got into town Friday night at 9:30 and we wake up and turn on the TV, not really expecting to hear anything. I see the mayor telling of mandatory evacuation. We left about 1 pm and it took 8 hours to get to Houston."
She says it was strange creeping out of the town that sits below sea-level... the lanes headed into town were completely empty... and later in the day those lanes were also filled with traffic of those escaping Hurricane Katrina.
"I guess you could call it organized chaos. There was definitely awareness, most people knew they had to get out. There's buses, rental cars, and planes. But, it's definitely a secluded area."
All Novasel could do was watch the news looking for, but hoping not to see, familiar places and faces.
"We recognize a couple stores. A store that caught on fire, you see people running in and out and it's very disheartening. I left my bag at my cousins and honestly expected to be back in a couple of days. Not a couple weeks or months."
Tulane continues to update it's students every day through the internet.
University administrators say they will have more information about the semester within the next two days.
The University of Nevada just announced it will accept those students, like Novasel, who were enrolled in schools devastated by the hurricane.