These images give you an idea of just how high the water was and how the levee system was total crap even 3 years after Katrina. At this point the water had risen higher than the railroad tracks and was threatening to break through the metal barrier gate.
The barrier gate is reinforced steel, but I could still here it scraping against the cement in the levee. Thankfully it did hold or I wouldn't be here right now. I foolishly went up to the barrier and placed my hands on the steel. It was an almost mystical experience touching something that held that much force behind it.