Cleanup Begins on the Gulf Coast

New Orleans, LA, USA The storm weakened as it moved inland much to the relief of people in Louisiana who braced themselves for a possible repeat of Hurricane Katrina. Gustav first hit coastal fishing villages and towns of southern Louisiana, before delivering only a glancing blow to New Orleans. The levees rebuilt after Katrina managed to hold up under the pressure of rising waters.

Hurricane Gustav came ashore 70 miles west of New Orleans. It was no Katrina, but Gustavo still packed a punch. The storm surge swelled the Mississippi River, and while water flowed over the floodwalls, no breaches were reported.

A mandatory evacuation order and curfew remain in effect for the city. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said he feels really good about the city's improved levee system. "Hopefully we will have everything in order, where we can, later on this week, we can have our citizens to start to come to back into the city," said Nagin.

But he did stress that evacuated residents shouldn't return just yet. "We want the streets clear so that we can clear debris, we can fix power lines, and we can do everything that we need to do before you start to come in."

At least a million people across Louisiana are without power. "It could take in some areas 2 weeks or more to get everybody back on line," said Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R).

And even though the "Big Easy" got off relatively easy, there is still some serious damage. Residents continue to worry about what may come next. "If it starts to rain again, the roof might cave in, that's my biggest concern, the roof," said New Orleans resident Perly Mae Curtis.

Gustav has been downgraded to a tropical storm and could possibly dump up to 20 inches of rain on parts of Texas and Louisiana.


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