By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota couple watched Hurricane Ida hit the city of New Orleans from their 14th floor hotel room.

A trip to New Orleans to celebrate his queen’s birthday turned out to be the experience of a lifetime for Manu Lewis and Carmen Means.

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(credit: CBS)

They arrived Thursday and by Friday realized they should probably cut the trip short.

“We tried. Flights was closed. Booked. Couldn’t move,” said Means.

With Hurricane Ida approaching New Orleans, they had no choice but to prepare to ride out the storm.

“We had already got our supplies so we anticipated being hunkered in, but you know, when I walked up on Canal Street I literally almost got blew off of my feet so I came back around the corner and just said, ‘Well, I’ll just watch it from the 14th floor,'” said Lewis.

From their room they saw heavy winds and rain move in.

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“From our view it looked like it was a snow storm, that’s how it looked. You could see everything, you could see the trees bending, you could see things begin to fly,” Means said.

“There were a lot of trees down, broken. Some broken glass, but you can see where it was more wind damage than water damage,” Lewis said.

What disturbed them most was witnessing the human collateral, the unsheltered, who could not hide from Hurricane Ida’s wrath.

“We did notice right in front of our hotel where there were some individuals who actually was inside the sandbag perimeter but using the sandbags as pillows, so that’s right at hotel entrances,” Lewis said.

Both say this is an experience that has tested their relationship and the relationship won.

“I couldn’t imagine this would happen and I wouldn’t want to spend it with nobody else but him,” said Means.

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The couple are scheduled to fly back to Minnesota Tuesday morning, if all goes well.

Reg Chapman