A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Another Winning Idea from Nagin

AP: Relief Chief: Mayor's Plan 'Problematic'---

BATON ROUGE, La. - A weakened levee system and a lack of drinkable tap water will make it "extremely problematic" to follow the New Orleans mayor's timeline for allowing residents to return to the evacuated city, the head of the federal disaster relief effort said Saturday.

Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen said federal officials have worked with Mayor Ray Nagin and support his vision for repopulating the city, but he called Nagin's idea to return up to 180,000 people to New Orleans in the next week both "extremely ambitious" and "extremely problematic."

"Our intention is to work with the mayor ... in a very frank, open and unvarnished manner," Allen told The Associated Press in an interview at Department of Homeland Security headquarters in Baton Rouge.

Allen called on the mayor to be "mindful of the risks" and said he would inform Nagin of his concerns at a meeting set for Monday.

The prime concern, Allen said, was the risk of another storm hitting the region, threatening an already delicate levee system and possibly requiring residents to be evacuated again. Hurricane season ends Nov. 30, though peak storm activity typically occurs from the end of August through mid-September.

"You want to have some way to conduct evacuation, because something less than a Category 4 storm is going to present significant issues that might require the evacuation of the general population," he said. "You want to make sure you have your arms around how you will do that, or if you could do it."