Hurricane Isaac did not wreak the widespread damage that Katrina did seven years ago, but some Louisiana residents are still cleaning up nearly a week later.
As Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said, This was not a (Hurricane) Katrina for everyone, but it was a Katrina for some.
Residents of LaPlace and St. John the Baptist Parish, suburbs of New Orleans, were hit by a 7-foot storm surge that overflowed levees and filled homes with water. Some of the neighborhoods will take months to rebuild, USA Today noted.
Areas outside the hurricane protection system girding the greater New Orleans area were vulnerable to such a storm. One LaPlace resident surveying her home said Monday: I dont even know where to start. Ive never been through anything like this before.
Isaac moved slowly, doing its damage by degrees. The storm surge and unceasing winds moved water from nearby Lake Pontchartrain and crested levees in LaPlace and other vulnerable areas.
The Army Corps of Engineers has been working on a hurricane protection plan for communities on the western side of Lake Pontchartrain since 1971. It is still not finished.
But some progress has been made overall following the storm. As of Monday, some 2,739 displaced people needed shelters across the state, down from more than 7,000 who sought refuge from the storm as it lashed Louisiana.
President Barack Obama visited flood victims Monday and told residents that government would figure out what can we do to make sure it doesnt happen again. State officials have said their first goal is to return displaced residents to their communities as soon as possible: 65,000 residents have applied for federal funding.
Unfortunately, the natural barrier that used to protect against storms like Isaac has eroded. You had a much more robust wetlands area in there that provided more protection for this area, said Garret Graves of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
The floodwall worked for much of New Orleans, but diverted water to other low-lying places. The challenge of how to protect the rest of the region remains.