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 the possibility of New Orleans being hit by another hurricane. The conversation seemed quite hypothetical, or at least a situation much further away... But now as Gustav threatens the Gulf Coast, our conversation takes on a whole new feeling.
We've already had several storms make landfall this year, if a hurricane hits New Orleans again – are they prepared now?
In a way I think the government is better prepared. I know they’ve invested in more; the levees have been reinforced and reshaped. They’ve acquired some backup communications, which a big problem after Katrina. They’ve conducted training for first responders.
But it’s going to be a wait-and-see.. Because you know what? Government can do all they want to prepare, but if people don’t prepare themselves, it doesn’t mean much. If you're dealing with 200,000 to 300,000 people as was the case in New Orleans, there’s only so much government can do to prepare. It’s incumbent on the families to do their preparation part… to be prepared to evacuate when the mayor says they need to evacuate.
In New Orleans, the people are in better shape. The life experience they gained from living in the storm, they'll find a way out this time. More of them will leave if it happened again.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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