New Orleans, LA – The managers of the New Orleans Morial Convention Center were keeping a close eye on the weather Friday as the odds increased that Tropical Storm Gustav could threaten the Crescent City by early next week. Gustav is the first serious storm to threaten the Gulf Coast in three years.
The National Hurricane Center warned that Tropical Storm Gustav was on course for the Gulf Coast and could strengthen into a hurricane by the time it made landfall sometime on September 2.“We are watching the storm closely, but preparing just in case an evacuation is called for the city,” said Rosalie Mortillaro, communications manager for the convention center.
The center had no trade shows or conventions on its schedule next Tuesday. A pop music concert Saturday in the theatre was expected to take place as scheduled, she added.
The only events booked for September were a meeting of the American Institute of Architects Louisiana on September 18-19 and a concert by the band Chicago on September 21.
If Gustav becomes a hurricane and hits Louisiana, it will be nearly three years to the day after Katrina devastated the city and forced the convention center to become a temporary shelter for thousands of New Orleans residents. Repairs and upgrades to the building after the storm totaled around $60 million and kept the center closed until February 2006.
The convention center is no longer a designated storm shelter for the public, but is earmarked as a command center for the Louisiana National Guard and State Police.
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