The rumors are rampant. The talk is clear. Scott Cowen is making the ultimate claim- we will be back in the spring. It’s hard for some to believe, that New Orleans will be up and running by January. My prediction is that around this time in January, we will be starting our first day of classes. President Bush gave a speech tonight in which he committed unprecedented and unmitigated support for New Orleans. I know that the amount of money and manpower that will be provided to the gulf coast will facilitate a speedy reconstruction. They can make progress in remarkable time if the federal government keeps their promise to support the reconstruction (and they will). The evidence proves my prediction to be pretty accurate.
Thus, Mayor Ray Nagin’s startling announcement that repopulation of New Orleans will begin next week. With so many negative reports from the news media, no one thought that we would be allowed back into the city as soon as next week. More importantly, the Mayor’s decision to allow people back into New Orleans was supported by an important EPA report that said it would pose little risk for people to return, although some of their evidence is still inconclusive. The Times-Picayune reported “on September 22, residents of the 70118 zip code, also Uptown, will be allowed to return.” The French Quarter will be open a week from Monday, also indicating there is significant progress. While the EPA data is still incomplete, there are many signs that point to the fact that the air is clean and the water is not. The water is still leaving a toxic residue in the mud that still must be cleaned. The big question is the drinking water. The water is still not suitable for cooking, drinking or bathing. Nagin claims that two hospitals will be opened for residents to begin receiving healthcare. Entergy claims that power has already been restored in three-fourths of the areas targeted for resettlement. There will be more soon.
The question is: will there be a New Orleans with only Uptown and the French Quarter? Will we be able to go help rebuild the areas that need it the most? How long will it take for those areas to come back?
I’m looking forward to a great spring semester, and that’s final.