Isaac pummels areas around New Orleans
(CBS News) Tropical Storm Isaac is reportedly weakening, but the massive and slow-moving system continues to wreak havoc in Louisiana and Mississippi. President Obama has declared both states disaster areas and to date, Isaac has been blamed for one death. The storm has pummeled homes and businesses, leaving 700,000 homes without power Thursday morning.
In New Orleans, officials say the levees built after Hurricane Katrina will stand the test of Isaac. Reporting from the city, CBS News correspondent Byron Pitts reported that rescue efforts in New Orleans had wrapped up overnight, with restoration of power now the biggest priority. But areas outside the city have been hit with severe flooding, forcing thousands of emergency evacuations.
In Laplace, to the west of the city, many National Guards troops were surprised when they arrived to see close to 100 people standing drenched by storm, some trembling in the early evening chill - all of them homeless.
Fifty miles to the south, residents of Plaquemines parish had a similar story to tell after water overtopped a levee. Thousands were forced to evacuate, but resident Fred Leslie was among dozens who ignored the mandatory order, saying "this is home. Where you going to go? This is home."
Thursday, officials are considering making cuts to the levee near Plaquemines parish, to allow the water still trapped between floodwalls to drain back into the Mississippi river and the surrounding marshland
Officials credit the minimal flooding in the city of New Orleans to the upgraded levee system and say that the priority now is to clear debris and restore electricity to the region. Many are expected to be without power for another four days.
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