New Orleans, LA August, 2009 Fourth & Forward As the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, the Mayor of New Orleans reflects on the city's recovery efforts over the past year. Mayor C. Ray Nagin, City of New Orleans: Well, what's happening this year is that a lot of the planning that we were working on, we???ve finally gotten the federal dollars and the state dollars moving, so people are now starting to really see, touch and feel the change. You know, as you drive around the city you see streets being repaired, you see facilities being built, you see new construction of apartment complexes and houses, so it's really starting to become evident that the pace of the recovery is picking up. Well, you know the roads, there's just so much work to be done. But we have about $630 million worth of projects that are either in final design or under construction. And it runs from just a minor resurfacing to a full reconstruction. And we're working in just about every area of the city from Algiers to uptown to New Orleans East to the Lower 9th Ward. Mahalia Jackson is an incredible facility. We put a lot of resources and time into it and it's now open. And we had a big grand opening with Placido Domingo, some local artists. But the big thing about Mahalia is that the rhythms of the city are back - its culture, its music - and that's a venue that we sorely missed. Well, all of our transportation systems are being enhanced. Our streetcar lines, which are world famous, were down for a number of years after Katrina. So we were able to first restore the one on Canal street, and then we were able to restore the one that runs on St. Charles Avenue. Well, You know FEMA has been an organization that has grown along with us. I don't think anyone really understood the devastation of Katrina until we got into it. So all the systems were overwhelmed. So we had our struggles with FEMA on the front end, but I will tell you today we're making a tremendous amount of progress with the agency. PWs are being versioned up to their proper levels. Money is flowing and it's really helping the recovery. Well you know, I'm fairly encouraged. If we can continue to nurture this momentum, the fourth year with us being at about 80 percent of our pre-Katrina populations, if we continue this momentum, and continue to grow at the rate we did last year, we're going to be very close to being fully repopulated, which I think is unbelievable.