Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Chances are that N.O. will be safe to return to.

It doesn't appear that there will be any major, long-lasting chemical or biological contamination.

So far, though, results of the testing in New Orleans are encouraging, says Jerry Fenner, who's leading a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team that is assessing the city's environmental health risks.

"All the data to date show there should not be any long-term health risks to the population," Fenner said late last week. While considerable concern has focused on germs lurking in New Orleans' sewage-contaminated floodwaters, they won't survive long once the water is pumped away. Times Picayune

In other New Orleans news, the Corps of Engineers is still working to shore up the levees that broke under Katrina, and have massive sandbags on hand to plug any remaining or new breaks in the levees.

And most of New Orleans is now dry. At least for the time being.

The corps estimates that about 2,700 acres of the city remain flooded, down from 27,000 acres immediately after the hurricane. The water is concentrated in three large pools, 2 to 4 feet deep — in East New Orleans, the northern section of the central city, and the 9th Ward — and should be gone within five days, Gapinski said.

And American Airlines and Southwest are planning a return of flights into the N.O. Armstrong Ariport.

Good news altogether. Now let's put some gris-gris on Hurricane Rita so she stays away from the Crescent City.

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