Gustav Makes Landfall Near New Orleans

FEMA, evacuated city prepare for punishing wind and rain
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 1, 2008 10:25 AM CDT
Louisiana National Guard members Joseph Baurier, left, Ashton Stephens ,center, and Nick Ali , right, all of New Orleans patrol along Bourbon St. in the French Quarter on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2008.   (Melissa Phillip)
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(Newser) – Hurricane Gustav crashed into the all-but-deserted Louisiana coast this morning, and the eye landed southwest of New Orleans. Gustav brought punishing wind and sheets of rain but veered away from New Orleans, where only a few holdouts remained, the AP reports. Tens of thousands were without power in New Orleans and other low-lying parishes, but officials said backup generators were keeping city drainage pumps in service.

As a nervous nation watched to see if Gustav would deliver another Katrina-style hit on the partially rebuilt city, officials steadfastly insisted 3 years of planning and infrastructure upgrades had prepared them for whatever was to come. "We don't expect the loss of life, certainly, that we saw in Katrina," FEMA’s deputy director said. "But we are expecting a lot of homes to be damaged, and a lot of infrastructure to be flooded.”