A Belfast woman watched as Hurricane Isaac destroyed homes in New Orleans in just 30 minutes.

Pauline Patterson, who has lived in New Orleans since 1990, witnessed the vast destruction when she went to check on her bar in the city, Finn McCool's on Bank Street, which she runs with her husband Stephen. 

She told the Evening Herald newspaper, “In a half hour the house was destroyed, the last band of wind took it down.”

Over 700,000 people in the area are without power as heavy winds and rain knocked out the system.

Patterson joked about the strength of the storm, comparing it to Irish weather.

She said, “Hopefully today we will see the winds down and the electric company can go out and do some repairs. They aren't allowed out until winds drop to 40mph.

"Obviously they'd never be allowed out in Donegal, where 40mph is a summer’s day."

The Belfast native described the destruction she witnessed at the hands of the powerful storm.

“There were bands of heavy rain and bad winds coming every 20 to 30 minutes at the height of it.

“There was a small bit of storm damage to the roof at home and bar with lots of downed tree limbs.”

Thankfully, Hurricane Isaac is a far weaker storm than Katrina which destroyed New Orleans in 2005.

Patterson hopes that something positive can come out of Hurricane Issac’s arrival so close to the anniversary of Katrina, which killed at least 1,836 people.

She said, “Hopefully when this is over we will have a squeaky clean New Orleans and will finally get rid of Katrina's August 29 funk, because now we have Isaac to remember, and he wasn't as bad as he could've been to New Orleans."

During Katrina, the Pattersons were forced to leave and rebuild their bar. It took six months.
Yesterday, the Pattersons reopened their Irish pub with the help of a generator.

The National Guard were evacuating thousands of people’s homes in west New Orleans as floods had forced water over the banks of Lake Pontchartrain. So far there has been only one reported fatality reported during Hurricane Isaac.

A group of men await Hurricane Isaac in New Orleans, Aug. 28.Chris Graythen / Getty Images