By Don Teague, NBC News Correspondent
It was a little before noon. I was driving through various New Orleans neighborhoods and surveying the situation. For the most part that meant empty block after empty block. All was quiet.
Then I turned down Franklin Avenue in Gentilly Terrace, north of the French Quarter.
"Uh Oh," I said to myself.
I had just driven into what looked like a standoff. There were no fewer than two dozen police officers surrounding a modest white house. There were New Orleans Police, Military Police, Louisiana State Police, State Wildlife Officers, and two police dogs. They all looked serious.
I circled the block, stopped a safe distance away, grabbed a video camera, and jumped out of the car. Standoff's can be tricky, so my first thought was finding some cover in case bullets started flying. Then I noticed that all of the police were standing in the open. There were no guns drawn.
"Well that's weird," I thought.
I spotted a neighbor watching the action from his driveway across the street. If there had been a gunman somewhere, the police would have moved the neighbor. They didn't, so I cautiously made my way over to him. As I got closer to the house, I noticed even more cops and military police in the backyard.
"Do you know what's going on?" I asked the neighbor.
"Yeah, I thought I heard a noise across the street, so I called the cops."
I looked back toward the white house. A very large police dog was now straining at his handler's leash, clearly eager to find a bad guy.
"You heard a noise, and they sent all of them?" I asked.
"I promised my neighbor I'd watch his house," the man continued, "and I thought maybe I heard some glass break over there."
"Wow," I said, "they're really serious about looting."
"I guess so," the man said. He seemed genuinely concerned, but also a little embarrassed by the fact that what amounted to an infantry platoon of cops had shown up to investigate a noise.
If it sounds like I'm making light of the situation, I'm not. I was here in New Orleans during hurricane Katrina. The lawlessness of that situation was truly frightening, and dangerous. I'll take too many police over too few any day.
The point is, authorities are doing everything possible to protect not just the people of this city, but also their property. They made a promise to residents that if they evacuated, their homes would be protected.
Ultimately, the police didn't find a bad guy in the house. There was no evidence of a break-in. But I saw plenty of evidence that they're making good on their promise to keep New Orleans secure in the wake of Gustav.