Helicopters closed the approximately 300-foot breach by filling it with more than 200 3,000-pound sandbags. The failures of the levee system after Hurricane Katrina's onslaught left about 80 percent of the city flooded with water up to 20 feet deep. Full drainage will take nearly three months in some neighborhoods.
The military was considering using planes to spray for mosquitoes in areas where standing water could become a breeding ground for the insects, which can carry West Nile virus. Soldiers and police officers are patrolling the city, bringing an eerie calm to a city that last week was the scene of nightmarish chaos. Orleans Parish Sheriff Paul Valteau said the addition of troops was a godsend.
"There's just a lot of water in eastern New Orleans, more water than we're capable of dealing with," Valteau said. "So it's going to take the troops."
Some 51,000 troops -- 38,000 National Guard forces and 13,000 active duty soldiers -- have been deployed in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Recovery teams are searching house to house in New Orleans for hurricane victims, and helicopters are continuing to circle the city for survivors.
The Coast Guard said Monday its air and water crews have rescued more than 22,000 people in states affected by Katrina. Body recovery teams are pressing on with the grim task of searching for victims, many of whom are floating in canals, abandoned on roadsides and still hidden in flooded homes.
In Baton Rouge, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco said the death toll from Katrina could reach "several thousand." Only 71 bodies had been collected by Monday evening.
Residents of suburban Jefferson Parish got their first look at their devastated community yesterday. A steady stream of cars entered the parish after authorities agreed to let people return for the day to look at the damage to their homes.
Parts of the parish escaped most of the worst flooding, but farther upriver, suburbs like Metairie and Kenner were less fortunate.