New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and other officials lay out new evacuation plans for the city, nearly nine months after it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. With the revamped strategy focused on helping those without transportation leave, Nagin reassured residents that looting would be prevented.
Nagin, who faces a runoff election for his post on May 20, says the detailed plan for a total evacuation in the event of a huge storm was worked out over several months, with the help of the federal government. The plan would use buses and trains to get people out of the city.
A new campaign for mayor is underway in New Orleans after Saturday's first round made an election runoff necessary.
While race has long been a polarizing factor in the city's past mayoral elections, the two remaining candidates say there's much more to consider as New Orleans struggles to recover from last season's hurricanes.
The New Orleans mayor's race is heading to a run-off next month between incumbent Ray Nagin and Louisiana's Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu. Voters went to the polls there yesterday in the city's first municipal election since Hurricane Katrina. John Mercurio is in New Orleans covering the politics there. He's senior editor of the National Journal's Hotline. Hello. Welcome to the program.
Mr. JOHN MERCURIO (Senior Editor, National Journal's Hotline): Hello, Debbie. Good to be with you.
This week was the deadline to register to vote in New Orleans in time for the upcoming primary for mayor. There are plenty of municipal races to be decided in that city on April 22, but the talk of the town, and perhaps the nation, is the mayor's race, which has a whopping 24 candidates.
Susan Howell teaches political science at the University of New Orleans. She joins us from the studios of member station WWNO. Welcome.
Professor SUSAN HOWELL (Teacher, Political Science, University of New Orleans): Thank you.
When New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said that the Big Easy should be a chocolate city because God wanted it that way. Many people reacted with shock and dismay. Commentator John McCann wasn't bothered so much by the idea of a chocolate crescent city. He was more disturbed by Nagin's attempt to read God's mind.
From NPR News this is WEEKEND EDITION, I'm Liane Hansen. And these were some of the voices in the news this past week.
(Soundbite of song 'Midnight Hour')
Mr. WILSON PICKETT (Performer): I was in Detroit. And I was living on Chicago Boulevard and Dexter and I had a little bit apartment where a little bed pulled out. And it had a little kitchenette -- they called it. And I wrote, 'Wait 'Til The Midnight Hour'. And it's a big song, I mean it's incredible how big that song is today.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
And I'm Melissa Block.
Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin were in Washington today defending their actions immediately before and after Hurricane Katrina. They faced strong criticism from Republicans on the House committee that's investigating the government's response to the storm. NPR's Pam Fessler reports.