New Orleans Prepares for Biggest Test Since Katrina
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."