Behind the hopeful language about rebuilding lies a dispiriting statistic: Forty percent of the homes in New Orleans, most of them lying east of the Industrial Canal, do not have electricity. Some are in neighborhoods that were damaged beyond repair by Hurricane Katrina. But in other areas, residents say, rebuilding could start immediately if basic services were turned on.
. . . . .
The company had to send away repair crews from outside New Orleans because it could no longer afford to pay them. It has 400 employees, of whom 100 are trained to do the repair work.
And because crews began work in some of the most heavily damaged areas of the city, it took longer to see results, said Rod West, regional manager for the company's electrical distribution operations.
Power should be available to customers in the eastern part of the city by January, West said.
The cost of restoring power to New Orleans could amount to as much as 68% of Entergy New Orleans' net assets, said Amy Stallings, a company spokeswoman. Only 24% of its customer base has returned to the city and is using electrical service.
The company would not be functioning at all without a $200-million loan from its parent company, Entergy Corp., West said.
So now Entergy wants a federal bailout. Even though its parent company has millions. Anyway, try rebuilding a house with hand tools. You need power to rebuild, and without it, N. O. is dead in the water. Theere are many, many homes in the blacked out areas that have been gutted, and are awaiting power to begin new construction. They'll have to wait.