Hurricane Katrina isn't finished yet
The sense of relief that residents felt Monday morning when the city was not immediately inundated by a storm surge overflowing its protective levees was replaced late Monday night and Tuesday morning with dread because of a levee that was damaged by the hurricane.
Water flowing from the damaged levee near Lake Pontchartrain could have equally catastrophic effects, only unfolding more slowly.
Water levels in Lake Pontchartrain and the connecting 17th Street Canal are normally six feet higher than the surrounding city. The levees keep the waters from flowing down into this low-lying city, much of which is below sea level.
The damage to the 17th Street Canal and its levee means that the water from Lake Pontchartrain is now free to flow down to inundate hundreds of thousands of homes and other buildings here.
Once it flows in, the water will not drain from New Orleans because of the very levees that protect the city and that largely held during the hurricane. Those levees, built to keep water out, are now keeping the water in, and reports from across the city indicate that water levels are rising.
Meanwhile, residents in nearby Jefferson Parish are being told they can't return to their homes for an entire month.