New Orleans Braces for Gustav With Still-Weak Shield

Governor warns evacuations could start tomorrow
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2008 4:08 AM CDT
An aerial view of the industrial canal that runs between the Lower Ninth Ward bottom and downtown New Orleans.   (AP Photo/Chris Graythen)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – A nervous New Orleans is bracing for Gustav, well aware that weak spots in the city's hurricane barrier could lead to catastrophic flooding if the storm strikes, reports the Times-Picayune. Some $13 billion in work remains to be done before the city can be considered relatively well-protected. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has already declared a state of emergency and said evacuations could begin as early as tomorrow, Reuters reports.

The city's Achilles' heel, the Industrial Canal area, will not have storm surge protection in place until next year. Workers are busy installing huge sandbags to shore up the riskiest areas,and National Guard troops are on standby to help. "What we're looking at is expectation of a hit," said the boss of a levee board. "We're gearing up with that in mind." (Read more New Orleans stories.)