NEW ORLEANS — Though scattered damage and power outages have been the norm, credit unions in coastal Louisiana were reporting conditions “not nearly as bad” as expected as hurricane Gustav, now downgraded to a tropical storm, headed for Texas and Oklahoma after a glancing blow to New Orleans.

Word of conditions in the Houma area, home to nearly half a dozen CUs and their branches, were still sketchy because of downed cell phone circuits, but other areas seemed to have escaped serious problems, CU officials said.

Meanwhile, as government agencies worked to avoid any Katrina repeat, regulatory agencies, like NCUA, were quick Tuesday to use Web sites and call centers to relay emergency information to CUs and the public.

NCUA said it had activated its emergency hotline (888-584-6847) at 7 a.m. EDT today “so members could check the status of credit union branches.” It also began distributing media information reaching evacuee shelters in Baton Rouge and Shreveport. NCUA said it sent out media releases to some 40 outlets in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas with announcements already on the air in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.