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New Orleans Takes Measures Against Hurricane Gustav

Three years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, particularly New Orleans, the city's residents have once again evacuated as Hurricane Gustav hit the coast Monday. NewsHour correspondent Tom Bearden reports from New Orleans.

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  • TOM BEARDEN, NewsHour correspondent:

    Gustav bore down on the Louisiana and Texas coast as a Category 2 storm, with winds of more than 100 miles an hour. It hit three years and three days after Hurricane Katrina.

    The storm’s eye made landfall this morning west of New Orleans after weakening overnight. Still, within hours, water was sloshing over floodwalls in the Industrial Canal near the Ninth Ward. That structure breached after Katrina.

    Officials from the Army Corps of Engineers said they were cautiously optimistic that the city’s levees would hold.

    The winds have been gusting pretty strongly since dawn. The rain comes and goes. At the moment, though, it looks like the city has been spared any serious damage. Of course, that’s what everybody thought immediately after Hurricane Katrina, and then the levees broke.

    Lt. Col. Jerry Sneed heads the city’s department of homeland security. He said the danger isn’t completely over yet.

  • LT. COL. JERRY SNEED, director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness:

    We have to get it past us before we can assess what’s going on. Currently, it looks like very, very little damage. At present, I’m told about 50 percent of power is out in the city, but it seems like that’s about it, no flooding, no levee breaks. Everything seems to be working out. But we’ve got to get it past us.

  • TOM BEARDEN:

    We rode the storm out in the New Orleans neighborhood of Audubon Park near Tulane University.

  • NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT:

    I know of two families. Everybody else has left.

  • TOM BEARDEN:

    Bill Ryan was one of the few holdouts here.

  • NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT:

    It’s remarkable, because there were so many more people here during Katrina.

  • TOM BEARDEN:

    As Gustav was hitting, Ryan made the rounds checking on the homes of his neighbors who had evacuated.

  • NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT:

    In Katrina, this whole thing was down. So I guess we’re fortunate that we’ve only lost two parts of it.

  • TOM BEARDEN:

    He also weathered Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

    So you feeling like maybe New Orleans has dodged a bullet?

  • NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT:

    We know we’ve dodged a bullet. The question is, we were worried about a bomb.

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