Hurricane Gustav pounts Louisiana Coast
Reuters news service,
Gustav weakened to a Category 2 hurricane shortly before making landfall, although it was already pounding
Oil companies had shut down nearly all production in the region, which normally pumps a quarter of
Nearly 2 million people fled the
At , it was 20 miles southwest of Port Fourchon,
In the city, devastated by the flood waters from Hurricane Katrina three years ago, residents on talk radio reported some power outages, but also relief that the storm seemed to be less destructive than originally feared.
"It looks as though it is far less than we had expected but we are just beginning to see the full force of the hurricane," said David Blake, a talk show host.
Hurricane Gustav also took center stage in
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Gustav was still likely toss up "an extremely dangerous storm surge" of up to 14 feet that could test the holding power of rebuilt levees that failed during Hurricane Katrina.
Hurricane Katrina brought a 28-foot storm surge that burst levees on
and order collapsed.
Police and several thousand national guard troops patrolled the empty city, sometimes in convoys of Humvees, as a curfew went into effect in a bid to prevent looting.
It was expected to swamp parts of
FEARS OF ANOTHER KATRINA
Gustav's approach had stirred uneasy comparisons to Katrina, the most costly hurricane in
President George W. Bush, who was criticized for the slow relief efforts after Katrina, canceled his appearance at the Republican convention as scheduled instead a visit to
McCain went to Gulf on Sunday to survey preparations and ordered political speeches canceled on Monday for his nominating convention, apparently concerned that television images of a choreographed Republican celebration while the storm was hitting
After accusations of botching Katrina relief efforts, the government lined up trains and hundreds of buses to evacuate 30,000 people who could not leave on their own and Nagin said 15,000 had been removed from the city, including hundreds in wheelchairs.
Residents boarded up the windows of their shops and homes before leaving town, while others hunkered down as "hold-outs" with stockpiled food, water and shotguns to ward off looters.
"I saw quite a bit of looting last time with Katrina, even 30 minutes after the winds had stopped," said construction contractor Norwood Thornton, who opted to stay behind to protect his home in
In its run through the
The U.S. Coast Guard reported the first storm-related death in
Katrina and Hurricane Rita, which followed it three weeks later, wrecked more than 100 Gulf oil platforms.
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