New Hope for New Orleans

There’s new hope for New Orleans. The death toll appears lower than predicted and experts now say they can drain the city three times faster than they thought.

Search and rescue crews are still fanning out in the city looking for more corpses. The cost to build the city could reach $100 billion.

The Louisiana delegation writes down names, they check every home, and all the while encourage people to leave. This is the work of the National Guard in New Orleans now joined by Mexican marines and Dutch sailors, but many in the drier areas of the city are staying put, defying direct orders from the mayor to get out.

New Orleans resident Charles Mabon said, "I could stay here forever."

On St. Charles Avenue, what used to be part of the Marti Gras parade route is now a major lifeline for emergency assistance.

New Orleans resident Ashton Odwyer added, "We've had trucks coming up and down this road, and why should I have to leave if all these people are here; no one’s protecting my home."

The city is still mostly flooded with toxic and putrid waters, but the levels are dropping. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates it will only take them one month instead of three to drain the city.

Vice Admiral Thad Allen, Principal Financial Officer, said, "We've had extraordinary good luck from mother nature for once, in that there hasn't been any additional rain or storms. The dehydration is helping too."

The official death toll stands at just over 150, and while that number is expected to rise, authorities now say it won’t touch the original estimate of 10,000.