A boy paddles his canoe through flood waters on September 4, 2011 in Lafitte, Louisiana. - 

If you look at the forecast map for Tropical Storm Isaac this morning, you'll see a scary trajectory -- one that looks eerily familiar, because it has the storm heading straight for New Orleans.

But this time, after billions of dollars and years of preparation, New Orleans might just be ready for a hurricane.

Mark Schlefstein is the environment reporter for the New Orleans Times Picayune. He says about $14.7 billion has been spent on improving levies, all with federal money.

"If the city's faced with a category 3 hurricane, the city would still have to go through a dramatic evacuation," Schlefstein says. "But even so it would still be significantly less of a problem in terms of damage to property."

Follow Jeremy Hobson at @jeremyhobson