New Orleans Prepares for Biggest Test Since Katrina

Seven years after Katrina made mincemeat of the city's flood protections, Hurricane Isaac is bearing down on the Crescent City. Ingrid Norton looks at what's different this time around.

1 minute read

August 28, 2012, 2:00 PM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


Although only a Category 1 storm at this point (Katrina struck as a Category 3), Hurricane Isaac is predicted to deliver a direct hit to New Orleans late tonight or early tomorrow in the largest test yet for the city's flood defenses, rebuilt at a cost of $14 billion.

According to Norton, "The oncoming storm is also a test for Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who was
elected in 2010 with a broad mandate to reform the city's legendarily
dysfunctional bureaucracy and modernize its infrastructure, including
emergency communication systems and transit systems necessary for
evacuation proceedings."

"So far, Landrieu appears to be winning the confidence of colleagues in
government as well as residents who say his improvements, such as
upgrades to the city's 311 system, are helping keep panic levels low. In
stark contrast to his predecessor Ray Nagin, who had a skittish
relationship to the public throughout his two terms in office -
including, infamously, during Katrina - Landrieu has maintained clear
and consistent communication throughout the buildup to the storm, with
his staff live-tweeting press conferences and issuing emergency warnings in Spanish and Vietnamese."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012 in Next American City

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