Editor's Note: Anderson Cooper 360° is in New Orleans tonight, as Tropical Storm Gustav barrels toward the Gulf of Mexico, expected to reach Category 3. We'll look at whether New Orleans is ready, after being devastated by Hurricane Katrina exactly three years ago today. Watch our special report tonight at 10p ET.
David M. Reisner
AC360° Digital Producer
Today, on the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans braces for the possibility of yet another hurricane, this time named Gustav, and the possibility of a direct hit.
General Honoré was known best for serving as commander of ‘Joint Task Force Katrina.’ He was responsible for coordinating military relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina-affected areas across the Gulf Coast. Now retired, he spends much of his time in the region, and works to prepare families for future natural disasters.
I caught up with the general as he was traveling from his Georgia home to New Orleans last week. Our conversation covered as much ground as the general did, and we will share with you parts of that conversation over the course of the day.
We talked about other cities that if faced by a hurricane, could be decimated. Before I could finish the question, he had his answer....
As if the coincidence of having Hurricane Gustav threaten the Gulf Coast wasn't enough,
"Tropical Depression 8" has formed and is set to become Tropical Storm Hanna... and it's quite possible by the end of next week, 'Hanna' could head towards the city General Honoré warned us about.
What about other cities, what other cities need more planning, what do you fear could be the next ‘New Orleans?’
You have a large population, its right on the water, there’s no buffer between Miami and the gulf. New Orleans has about 60 miles of land between it and the gulf, so it was somewhat protected by the marshland, and the terrain leading up to the city. But if you take a city like Miami. It can get hit like Biloxi.
Biloxi got hit with a 30 ft wall of water because there was nothing between Biloxi and the gulf. The storm just came right out of the gulf and came right into the metropolitan area.
Houston also scares me. Houston is the 4th largest city. Both cities have close concentration of people, many people live in high rise. Houston has a lot of chemical plants and a lot of stored poisonous gases, things that are ‘industrial grade’ stored in their port.
What scares me the most about Miami is the number of people in structures that are sitting right on the water… without any protection? Like Biloxi, if you get a tidal surge with 30 feet of water, it would just about destroy most of that south eastern coast of Miami.
The other thing that scares me about Miami is the people in Florida are very hard headed. They don’t like to evacuate. The reason they don’t, is due to the fact that they see a lot of storms come through their state. They’ve become conditioned to the fact. 'Hey it's just another storm.' If you do a mandatory evacuation of Florida, the best you’re going to get is 50 percent of the people evacuating. Some won't move. Even with a mandatory evacuation.
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