"Each day there's a little bit of an improvement," Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen, commander of the New Orleans relief efforts, tells NBC News. "And in the end run, maybe a week, two weeks from now, someone's going to wake in the morning and have something they didn't have the day before, and that's hope."
Already, one lifelong city resident, Donald Jones, 57, is no longer armed when he walks down his street. "The first five days I never went out of my house without my gun. Now I don't carry it," Jones, starting to laugh, tells the Associated Press. "The only people I meet is military."
"I think it's livable," John Lopez, who moved to New Orleans from the New York City area about a year ago, tells AP. "If they got running water to all these buildings that are obviously inhabitable, they could get the city cleaned up a lot faster because people would be cleaning up their own blocks and their own neighborhoods."
On Sunday, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport reopened for cargo traffic and on Tuesday is scheduled to begin limited passenger service. On Monday, businesses owners in the central commercial district will be able to get temporary passes into the city so they can retrieve vital records or equipment needed to deal with payroll and other aspects of their businesses, said state police spokesman Johnny Brown.
In the French Quarter, Nick Ditta was at Mango Mango, the bar he manages on Bourbon Street, searching for time cards. "It's a mess man. There is no doubt about it," Ditta told the AP. "But our people are going to get paid. That's all I'm worried about."
Not that the picture is entirely rosy. In areas of the city were floodwaters receded they remain covered in a brown film emitting nauseating fumes, with little left to salvage. Authorities also raised Louisiana's death toll to 197 on Sunday, and recovery of corpses continues.