On Third Anniversary Of Katrina, Officials Aren’t Confident New Orleans’ Levees Can ‘Handle’ Gustav

Three years ago today, Hurricane Katrina made landfall upon New Orleans. The storm was tragically followed by an abysmal disaster response from the Bush administration and ultimately took the lives of nearly a thousand of the city’s residents.

Last week, President Bush appeared in New Orleans to say that “hope is coming back” to the city, due to $126 billion in disaster aid sent to the region in the last three years. As the Progress Report notes today, there is still mountains of work to be done, including “significant debris management issues,” a clean-up fraught with environmental issues, and vacant homes.

Today, Tropical Storm Gustav “threatens to become a hurricane and poses the biggest threat to New Orleans since the killer 2005 storm,” the AP reports. In an interview with CNN yesterday, Mayor Ray Nagin expressed concern about the sturdiness of the city’s levee system:

Well we are ready to evacuate. The big question is, which shape are our levees in. For all the work that the corps of engineers has done, is it going to be sufficient enough to handle what is projected to be a category 3 that right now is poised and pointed towards New Orleans?

Watch it:

In a press conference yesterday, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told residents, “Don’t try to rely upon the fact that the levees are stronger than they were in Katrina to assume that that’s going to necessarily protect you from harm.”

ThinkProgress assembled a timeline of the administration’s failure to respond to Hurricane Katrina. See the timeline here.