Don't Get Complacent, Big Easy: Officials

Much to be done if New Orleans is to survive next big storm
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2008 4:06 PM CDT
Coastal advocate Jimmy Delery inspects damage caused by Hurricane Gustav at the Almonaster railroad bridge, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008, in New Orleans.    (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
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(Newser) – New Orleans residents may be celebrating Hurricane Gustav's near-miss this week, but that's no reason to get complacent, the New York Times reports. Officials admit that protective infrastructure still isn’t up to par, and there were several close calls when Gustav made landfall. “I want everybody to understand—we’re not there yet,” an Army Corps of Engineers colonel said.

Infrastructure in New Orleans won’t be ready for a “100-year-storm”—the kind estimated to strike once a century—until at least 2011, leaving the city at risk of being swamped by even a modest storm. Even after that, a powerful storm could flood the city. But now is time to focus on the next Gustav-sized brush: “We’ve got to finish the system—we have got to remain focused,” a city official said.