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Snow: Corps back to drawing board on levees

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CNN's Mary Snow in New Orleans

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On the Scene
New Orleans (Louisiana)

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- In New Orleans, the Army Corps of Engineers was repairing levees damaged by Hurricane Katrina, which struck the city on August 29 and caused massive flooding.

After the 80 percent of New Orleans that was under water just about dried out, Hurricane Rita brought another devastating storm surge. CNN's Mary Snow reported on the conditions in the worst-flooded neighborhood.

SNOW: Behind me is the Lower 9th Ward, and even in the time we've been here this morning water has receded. It is still, though, so badly flooded.

And this happened on Friday, when the Industrial Canal levee had been breached from Hurricane Katrina. Crews had patched it up. But then on Friday, when New Orleans started feeling the [outer bands] of Hurricane Rita, an 8-foot surge overtopped that break in the levee, and poured into the Lower 9th Ward.

Now, as you can see, there are some sandbags there. The military had been dropping those sandbags yesterday afternoon. They have about 200, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. They are going to continue that today.

And the next big task now for engineers is to pump that water out of the Lower 9th Ward. They expect to do that later this week, but because the pumping stations here are out of commission, they're going to have to wait a couple of days, then pumping will begin for about a week, according to engineers.

As this goes on, the mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin is hoping to restart his plan to get people gradually back into New Orleans. He says that as early as tomorrow, he may start bringing business owners back into some sections of New Orleans, and also residents into the Algiers section.

Residents actually had been moving into Algiers last week. It did not suffer as much damage as other parts of New Orleans, it had electricity and water, but then the program was put on hold when Rita started coming through.

Engineers say that they feel disheartened that all the work they've been doing in the past couple of weeks, they are having to do again. But they say they're determined to first put a temporary fix on these levees, and then permanently fix them.

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