New Orleans rests a little easier today after missing the full force of hurricane Gustav. Gustav failed to make the same impact of Katarina three years ago and has now weakened to a tropical storm. Despite extensive damage to trees and power lines, water levels and the casualty count are far lower than in 2005, with US authorities reporting eight deaths related to the storm.
And, the Big Easy’s famous reconstructed levees – which failed so catastrophically during Katarina – appeared to be holding firm against the rising flood waters. Urging caution, Mayor Ray Nagin said New Orlean’s could be back on its feet within days:
‘‘Re-entry is only days away and not weeks away so I do not want anyone to think that we are talking about weeks. You know tomorrow hopefully we can have everything in order where we can, later this week, have our citizens start to come back.’‘
While weather experts are warning of further Hurricanes, many evacuees still remain in Shelters after fleeing the arrival of Gustav. The exodus from Louisiana was the largest evacuation in state history after two million people left their homes.