Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Return may begin within weeks.

Parts of New Orleans may be reopened next week
Mayor Ray Nagin said Tuesday he is anxious to start reopening parts of the New Orleans to residents, possibly as soon as next week.

An EPA report on airborne toxins and the now septic water that continues to sit in many city neighborhoods is expected to be delivered to Nagin soon. Should that report be as promising as the mayor believes it will be, Nagin said he would begin to allow residents to return by zip code.

The return, which the mayor hopes to launch early next week, would involve Algiers, the French Quarter, Central Business District and Uptown, Nagin said. None of those areas were flooded. Algiers was not subject to the mandatory evacuation that covers the rest of the city.

“I’m starting to get into the mode of how do we reopen the city,” Nagin said. “The city is out of nuclear crisis mode and we’re in day-to-day crisis mode.”

Citing falling arrest numbers and the reduction of the crime that marked the hurricane’s immediate aftermath and hailing residents’ resiliency, the mayor predicted that most former residents would return.

“I know New Orleanians, and once we’re cooking the beignets, once the gumbo is in the pot, and when red beans and rice are being served on Mondays in the city, they’ll be back.”

Times Picayune

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