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Mayor announces plan to reopen New Orleans
Updated: 2005-09-16 20:45

In a few days, residents will begin moving back into this city one ZIP code at a time, speeding the revival of the economy in places like the French Quarter — the bawdy enclave that suffered relatively minor damage in the hurricane but is still without electricity.

A scene reminiscent of a war-torn city overseas, a truck is perched upon building debris from a fire in New Orleans on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005. Collapsing buildings is just one problem facing the mass of workers attempting to bring New Orleans back to life. [AP]

Mayor C. Ray Nagin announced plans Thursday to reopen some of New Orleans' most vibrant and least flood-ravaged neighborhoods over the next week and a half, including the French Quarter. The move could bring back more than 180,000 of the city's original half-million residents.

"The city of New Orleans ... will start to breathe again," Nagin said. "We will have life. We will have commerce. We will have people getting into their normal modes of operations and the normal rhythm of the city."

The announcement came as President Bush proposed a sweeping plan for the federal government to pick up most of the costs of rebuilding New Orleans and the rest of the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast — estimated at $200 billion or more.

"There is no way to imagine America without New Orleans, and this great city will rise again," the president said from the French Quarter's Jackson Square.
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