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...

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