In The News › Anger Greets New Orleans Recovery Proposal

Nov 22, 2006

Source: Reuters

Anger Greets New Orleans Recovery Proposal

Anger greets New Orleans recovery proposal.
12/01/2006. ABC News Online

Anger greets New Orleans recovery proposal. 12/01/2006. ABC News Online

New Orleans officials have unveiled a controversial recovery plan, giving residents four months to prove
they will rebuild before their neighbourhoods are declared off-limits to redevelopment.

The plan calls for a much smaller city, estimating that just half of the 500,000 people who lived there
before Hurricane Katrina will resettle in the next two years.

Half the residents must commit to return to a neighbourhood for it to be ruled viable, the commission has
proposed.

The proposal drew loud “boos” and shouts of anger from residents who crowded a downtown hotel
meeting room for its announcement.

“I’m ready to rebuild. I’m not going to let you take everything,” one man shouted from the back of the
room.

“I’m ready to fight to get my property together”

Carolyn Parker, a resident of the ruined Lower Ninth area, has told the panel: “I don’t think it’s right that
you try to take my property”.

“Over my dead body,” she said. “I didn’t die with Katrina.”

The plan was designed by the Bring Back New Orleans Commission’s urban planning committee,
appointed in October by Mayor Ray Nagin.

Commission planning consultant John Beckman says the proposals would cost about $23.6 billion.

That includes $15.9 billion for property buy-backs, about $6.4 billion to build transportation, and another

$1.3 billion to demolish housing and reconstruct damaged public buildings.
A moratorium will be placed on rebuilding in badly damaged areas of the city until decisions are made.

Neighbourhood shut-downs

The plan proposes residents and experts should form planning teams for each neighbourhood and decide
by late May on the fate of those most heavily damaged by the August 29 storm.

If a neighbourhood is not deemed habitable or too few residents return, the city could ban redevelopment
and turn it into a park or open space.

The concept of eliminating certain neighbourhoods altogether has angered many black residents of the
Lower Ninth Ward, who fear theirs is among the most likely to be closed down.

Property owners would be compensated in a proposed federal buy-back program that would provide 100
per cent of their homes’ pre-storm value.

Mr Beckman says the plan gives everyone an opportunity to return.

“We want these people back, every single one of them,” he said.

New Orleans Bureau of Governmental Research planning expert Janet Howard says the proposal is vague.
“At this point in time, it’s more of a process than a plan,” she said.

She says it is a step in the right direction, “not an articulated overall scheme”.
The plan calls for improved flood and storm water protection and a single authority to replace the multiple
boards that oversee the region’s levee system.

It also proposes closing the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, a shipping shortcut to the Gulf of Mexico
blamed for much of the flooding on the eastern side of the city.

Many aspects of the plan are recommendations and would require approval by federal and state authorities
that would provide much of the funding.

Only about 100,000 residents have returned so far since Hurricane Katrina flooded 80 per cent of New
Orleans and much of the city remains uninhabitable.

Redevelopment has already stalled as residents complain of getting little or no assistance from the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or private insurance companies.

-Reuters

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Nov 22, 2006

Source: Reuters

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