The solemn ceremonies for the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina today were, for the most part, blown away by Tropical Storm Gustav, which threatens to become a hurricane and poses the biggest threat to New Orleans since the killer 2005 storm.

An early morning symbolic burial service in honor of the unclaimed bodies left behind by Katrina, and a bell ringing service scheduled for 9:38 a.m. CDT — when the first levee broke, inundating the city — were the only events that remained on what would have been a day of remembrance of the devastating storm.

Instead, preparations were under way in the event Gustav struck early next week. The National Guard was scheduled to begin convoying into New Orleans today, while some nursing homes and hospitals planned to start moving patients further inland and the state began moving 9,000 inmates from coastal lockups.

An evacuation order for New Orleans was likely, Mayor Ray Nagin said, but not before Saturday. Meanwhile, residents of areas further south could be told to leave starting today, Gov. Bobby Jindal said.

The state activated 3,000 Guardsmen on Wednesday, another 2,000 on Thursday, Jindal said. Jindal said he has ordered 1,500 of them to be in New Orleans today.

The new troops would beef up the 360 Guardsmen who have been in the city since Katrina.

Projections showed Gustav arriving early next week as a Category 3 storm, with winds of 111 mph or greater, anywhere from the Florida Panhandle to eastern Texas. But forecasts are extremely tentative several days out, and the storm could change course and strength.

The city said it is prepared to move 30,000 residents in an evacuation; estimates put the city’s current population between 310,000 to 340,000 people. The city planned to use city buses to pick up people unable to leave on their own and ferry them to a staging area where they would be moved to shelters in northern Louisiana.