Nightly News | May 13, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: And now to the situation in New Orleans down river from Baton Rouge . One of our viewers in that city, where they've been through, so much e-mailed us today, quote, "Very few of us give any credence to these promises that the city will remain unscathed." Though Mayor Mitch Landrieu went on record yesterday saying there won't be water in New Orleans , he's been kind enough to join us from his beloved city of New Orleans tonight. Mr. Mayor, we should point out nobody wants a drop of water in that city, and we wish we could wish you sunny skies and no potholes for the next 100 years, but what makes you so sure?
Mr. MITCH LANDRIEU (New Orleans Mayor): Well, Brian , you know, we've been working with the Corps of Engineers . The levees that actually protect the Mississippi are some of the strongest levees that we have. The corps has been out every day, almost every second of the day, monitoring the levees. The Morganza Spillway was really an important component for us. It's going to relieve a tremendous amount of pressure in the city of New Orleans . So based on what the corps has told us, we believe the city of New Orleans is going to be safe. This is a very tragic situation really for everybody in America , and of course the people that live along the Atchafalaya basin as well as in Morgan City , so our hearts go out for them. But we have every reason to believe, based on the information that the corps has given us and the inspections that they've done, that the city of New Orleans is going to be safe.
WILLIAMS: Well, so many New Orleanians , of course, when you say to them Katrina was a natural disaster, they stop you right there and correct you and they say, no, it was manmade. There's still a lot of anger toward the corps . This makes you oddly a corps alley, and further, is it tough to square the fact that others will suffer to spare New Orleans , really?
Mr. LANDRIEU: Well, let me -- those are two separate questions. Let me answer it. First of all, the levees in question are not the ones that were breached by Katrina . The ones -- the levees that are in question now are the ones that have been buttressed for 50, 60, 70 years on the Mississippi River , which are much, much stronger and the corps has much more confidence in. So they're two separate levee systems. Secondly, no, it doesn't make us feel any good that protecting New Orleans , other folks are going to get hurt. I mean, we understand that better than anybody, having been underwater for 14 days. So our heart goes out to them, and I've reached out to the mayor of Morgan City , to the president of Terrebonne Parish , and of course to the governor saying, let us know what we can do so that we can be in this fight with you.
WILLIAMS: Mayor Mitch Landrieu , the city of New Orleans , we may day -- we may come down and see you there before this is all over. Thank you very much for your time tonight.
Mr. LANDRIEU: Love to see you.
WILLIAMS: All right, thank you Mr. Mayor.
Mr. LANDRIEU: Thank you very much .