New Orleans is a Louisiana city on the Mississippi River, near the Gulf of Mexico. Nicknamed the “Big Easy,” it’s known for its round-the-clock nightlife, vibrant live-music scene and spicy, singular cuisine reflecting its history as a melting pot of French, African and American cultures. Embodying its festive spirit is Mardi Gras, the late-winter carnival famed for raucous costumed parades and street parties.

A storm swamped New Orleans streets and paralyzed traffic Wednesday as concerns grew that even worse weather was on the way: a possible hurricane that could strike the Gulf Coast and raise the Mississippi River to the brim of the city’s protective levees. The storm was associated with a broad area of disturbed weather in the Gulf that forecasters said was on track to strengthen into a hurricane by the weekend.

 

 

Terrian Jones reacts as she feels something moving in the water at her feet as she carries Drew and Chance Furlough to their mother on Belfast Street near Eagle Street in New Orleans after flooding from a 100-year storm from a tropical wave system in the Gulf Mexico dumped lots of rain in Wednesday, July 10, 2019. The wave system may form into a hurricane called Barry later in the week. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

 

The system was likely to be named Barry, and it would be the second named Atlantic storm this year. As of 11 p.m. ET Wednesday, it had maximum sustained winds of 30 mph, according to the hurricane center. Tropical storms have maximum sustained winds of at least 39 mph.

 

“Severe weather is severe weather, and the potential is there, so you need to be prepared and be ready,” said Mike Evans, deputy director of emergency services in Mobile County, Alabama.