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Last minute preparations

By Lester Holt, NBC News anchor

I am blogging via BlackBerry from New Orleans as I wait to do an interview with Secretary of Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff. He's been making the rounds here, viewing hurricane preparations and meeting with officials.

The city would be eerie right now if it weren't in the midst of a flurry of activity. A growing "breeze" serves as a gentle reminder we are all fighting the clock. Stores along the normally busy Canal Street are all shuttered, and in many cases boarded up. Evacuees, first responders and journalists will have to identify and secure safe haven much sooner than we expected. Gustav is moving faster than earlier projections.

I'm at the bus depot, where people are still boarding buses out of town. Mayor Nagin has made it clear that anyone who chooses to stay behind does so at their own risk. But it's anyone's guess how many people will decide to ride it out. There is no public shelter of last resort. This time the Superdome is locked.

The flurry of last minute preps is a reminder that all responders — government, state, local and federal — are being measured against the experience of Hurricane Katrina 3 years ago. No one wants to fail this test.

That's all for now, I'll see you later, live from New Orleans on NBC Nightly News.