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?