Gustav's Lessons for New Orleans

The city was spared this time. But the hurricane showed that New Orleans is only a bit less vulnerable than before Katrina

Eliot Kamenitz / The Times-Picayune / AP

Gustav pushed water over the Industrial Canal flood wall, but the levees withstood the surge.

Let's start with the good news: Hurricane Gustav was a much ballyhooed bust. It arrived in Louisiana as a relatively mild Category 2 storm, not the Category 4 nightmare forecasters had feared, and it missed New Orleans. The fatal failures of Hurricane Katrina were not repeated: levees and flood walls didn't collapse, pumps didn't break down, and most residents fled the coast before Gustav's landfall. There was much better preparation and cooperation, much less finger-pointing and obfuscating. And for all the TV footage of downed power lines and uprooted trees and windblown reporters, there were just a few reported deaths, and...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!