Beyond the city, though, there are still concerns. As coastal areas erode, residents living near the shore face a greater threat of flooding. This could become worse with global warming.
Colonel Edward Fleming, commander for the New Orleans district of the Army Corps of Engineers, says coastal restoration projects are underway, and that he's in Washington seeking approval for six more this week.
Still, he concedes that the state is losing 27 square miles of land a year.
"There's no doubt that at some point the state and the government are going to move forward and are going to have to make some tough decisions and some tradeoffs," Foley said, including deciding where and what structures to build and identifying where changes to zoning, building prohibitions or possible buyouts of homeowners might be appropriate.
"When you have finite resources, whether it's money or whether it's sediment, you have to figure out where you're going to get the best benefit," he said.
Leonard Bahr, a coastal scientist formerly with the Louisiana governor's office, now maintains an independent blog about the Louisiana coast (lacoastpost.com). "The model of bolstering the protections in New Orleans is inappropriate to be used across the rest of Louisiana," he said. "Once you build levees and start pumping, the rest is history. You're doomed to perpetual pumping."