FROM Terry O'Connor
New Orleans Gets a Citywide Recovery Plan...Finally Almost two years after Katrina, New Orleans has assembled its ninth recovery plan. If the city can spend $117 million "responsibly," there's hope that a billion in federal money will follow. But insurance is a major problem, and the "uptown swells" are still unhappy about the re-opening of housing projects. Terry O'Connor, editor-in-chief of New Orleans CityBusiness magazine, has an update.
Mardi Gras Revelers Flood Big Easy, Residents Ponder Jump Ship Mardi Gras has been described as the tale of two cities: New Orleans before and after Katrina. Last year's Mardi Gras was the first after Katrina, and it was mostly a local affair. This year's will be a better measure of what's in store for New Orleans. Today is Fat Tuesday, and hotel occupancy is up, but so is the number of cops on the streets because of an increase in violent crime. Many residents who've qualified for government grants still aren't sure if they ought to rebuild or take buy-outs. With the city just half as large as it used to be, we hear about prospects for public safety, race relations and reconstruction.
Public Housing and FEMA Vouchers in the 'New' New Orleans After Katrina, President Bush said, "We will do what it takes" to make "this great city... rise again." The Army Corps of Engineers promised to rebuild a safer New Orleans. Today, New Orleans is less than half as big as it was before Katrina and the Federal Emergency Management Agency may or may not restore rent subsidies that could help more residents to return. Meantime, rents are rising and what little public housing remains may be converted to mixed-income townhouses poor people can't afford. Today's New York Times reports that the Army Corps of Engineers has lost its sense of urgency to rebuild a city safe for enough business and jobs. Is the federal government abandoning a major American city? Are blacks the biggest losers?
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?
Rhetoric and brinksmanship on the Korean Peninsula For 25 years, the US has viewed North Korea's nuclear program with increasing alarm. Now President Trump says this country has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what he's actually doing… and what might come next.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.