New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has unveiled a new disaster strategy ahead of the approaching hurricane season.
Much of New Orleans still shows hurricane devastation
Plans to use the city's largest buildings as shelters have been abandoned - instead the focus will be on getting people out of the city.
Mr Nagin, who was criticised over the city's response to Hurricane Katrina last year, is up for re-election.
Katrina killed more than 1,300 people on the Gulf Coast. Fewer than half of New Orleans's residents have returned.
The city's Superdome stadium and Morial Convention Center turned into scenes of misery and desperation last year, when they were packed with thousands of people who had failed to escape from the city before the storm hit at the end of August.
Now they will be used only as transit points, Mr Nagin said.
"There will be no shelter of last resort," he said.
Public transport, including trains, would be used to evacuate people.
After Katrina, the authorities were criticised for failing to provide people without cars with a means of escape. It meant many of those left behind were the poor and elderly.
"Amtrak trains will also be used for evacuation purposes, which we're really excited about," Mr Nagin said.
The new plans also allow for people to take their pets with them, if they are in cages, after it emerged that many people had refused to leave last time without their animals.
Mr Nagin faces Mitch Landrieu in a run-off vote on 20 May.
Meanwhile Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco has proposed a $7.5bn (£4bn) rebuilding and buyout programme to try to spur recovery in the state.
The hurricane season is expected to run from June to November.