How Gustav Compares To Katrina Officials are cautiously optimistic that New Orleans is safe after Hurricane Gustav. We track how the levees, rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina, are holding up and examine how the police and national guard are reacting. This is the first real test for the disaster system since Hurricane Katrina left more than 1,000 people dead.
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How Gustav Compares To Katrina

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How Gustav Compares To Katrina

How Gustav Compares To Katrina

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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

H: In a moment, I'll talk with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. First, to New Orleans and NPR's John Burnett.

JOHN BURNETT: Bands of gray clouds are blowing past overhead. There are lots of branches down from these great old live oak trees in the streets. But all in all, the folks we've talked to say this doesn't even begin to compare to Katrina.

BLOCK: Not much to compare, really. It's not even close. So, it's just like a windstorm. I mean, we even haven't hardly had any rain or anything. So, really, not much to say on that. Kinda boring.

BURNETT: Podesta and his cohorts were sitting on picnic tables, sipping beer and energy drinks, each with a big black handgun bulging from his waistband. He was asked to give a grade to preparations for Gustav compared to Katrina.

BLOCK: I would say an A this time. Last time was an F. But I won't tell you what the F stands for.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BLOCK: But it's a different feeling this time. Last time, you know, the hairs would rise on the back of your neck, because you knew. Yeah, I knew what was going to happen in the city when everyone figured out there's nobody watching the roost. And this time around now, way different, way different.

BURNETT: Charles Coones(ph), an interior designer, rode out the storm with his parents in his stately, century-old uptown home. As rain whipped down the street, he described it...

BLOCK: Like a bad tropical storm. And I think we'll survive it with, thank God, less damage than what was predicted. During Katrina, it was much worse than this.

BURNETT: So, how did the region's newly fortified levees hold up under their first real test since Katrina? This question was put to H.J. Bosworth, an engineer and research director for levees.org, a grassroots advocacy group that supports a stronger levee network.

BLOCK: This is a lightweight test. This is not the kind of test that we had with Katrina. But fortunately, it looks like the levees and flood protection over to the east of us seem to be holding up all right.

BURNETT: John Burnett, NPR News, New Orleans.

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