Thursday, September 15, 2005


for New Orleans:
As military helicopters circled overhead and rescue teams combed New Orleans' flooded neighborhoods in search of remaining survivors, Mayor C. Ray Nagin stood in historic Jackson Square in the city's fabled French Quarter and announced that air and water testing conducted throughout the city by the Environmental Protection Agency had yielded much more optimistic results than expected.

Tests showed that at least four of the city's neighborhoods-- the French Quarter, the Central Business District, Uptown and Algiers--would soon be safe to occupy again. Those neighborhoods escaped much of the flooding that had covered 80 percent of the city.
Nagin said he hoped many residents would be allowed to return to the city soon. Unlike officials in surrounding cities, who so far have allowed residents back in for only brief periods to assess damage and retrieve essential personal items, Nagin said residents of the cleared New Orleans neighborhoods would be allowed back permanently, with a curfew likely after nightfall.

All the neighborhoods that may be reopened are suffering from power outages, but energy officials were predicting power would be restored by next week. Nagin said water, too, would once again be running, though probably not yet safe to drink.
The sooner, the better.

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