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Senate wants answers from Blanco, Nagin

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs has some questions.

- A description of "all actions taken to evacuate or attempt to evacuate individuals without personal transportation and those with medical conditions and special needs."
- All documents from Aug. 29 to Sept. 6 that refer to the levee system; lawlessness, looting or other law enforcement, public safety or public order issues; the situation at the Superdome and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center; and the "evacuation of the Superdome/Convention Center or other areas of New Orleans."
- Any information that reflects on the "failure or inadequacy of emergency communications, and accounts of desertions" at the Police Department as well as conflicts responding to the disaster with federal, state and city agencies.

This is what they want from Blanco:

- Information related to evacuations planned or carried out by the state.
- All documents from Aug. 23 to Sept. 6 related to requests or offers of assistance by federal, state, local and nongovernmental agencies.

As for the House:

Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., who is leading the House investigation, said he is not interesting in producing a document outlining blame. "We want to be able to report what happened and where, what decisions were made, and try to talk about what went right and what went wrong, so that we can learn by our mistakes," Davis said in an interview.

Nagin defends gaming; "I see a state in crisis"; "not feeling very regional right now"; thousands still missing

From this:

A frustrated New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin warned Thursday that it would be in the state's best interest to help the Crescent City jump-start its Hurricane Katrina-riddled economy, saying the impact on the state -- if nothing is done -- will pale in comparison to the layoffs the city recently announced.
"You think 3,000 layoffs in New Orleans is a big deal. Just wait,'' Nagin, his sleeves rolled up, said during an evening meeting with The Advocate's editorial board. "I see a state in crisis.''
The mayor pointed out during the Baton Rouge meeting that New Orleans accounts for 35 percent of the state budget.
"This is not chump change,'' he said. "We're going to have to sell the financial realities of what has happened to this state. Four-day work weeks is not going to do it.''
Nagin, who spent a second straight day Thursday visiting New Orleanians in evacuation shelters, including those in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and other parts of the state, expressed frustration over inaction on the state's part and what he perceives as indifference to the city's post-Katrina plight...
...Nagin, asked if the city is considering filing for bankruptcy, said his administration is in the process of borrowing $50 million from Chase Bank and is looking for a consortium of banks to lend the city another $50 million to $100 million...
...The mayor said his much-criticized proposal last week to create a casino district in downtown New Orleans -- what he referred to Thursday as the "hype and glitter factor,'' would be a way to breath life into the ailing city economy...
...The devastated Lower 9th Ward, what he called "the most vulnerable area of the city,'' could face "mass demolitions'' if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cannot give the city and residents the "comfort'' that it can be protected from future levee breaks along the Industrial Canal. The Lower 9th contains the highest concentration of blighted property in the city, he said, a legacy of Hurricane Betsy. If the Lower 9th is rebuilt, it likely will contain of mix of raised residences, apartments and condominiums, and industry.
His relationships with Blanco and Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard are less than cozy.
"I've been trying to work with the governor. We have very different styles. I'm really at a loss for what else to do,'' the mayor said.
"There are some really hard feelings right now,'' he said of his feelings toward Broussard. Shortly after Katrina struck, New Orleans residents who had fled to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center tried to "walk to freedom'' by crossing the Crescent City Connection on foot to make it out of the flooded city, but law enforcement officials in Gretna -- which is in Jefferson Parish -- met them with guns and "attack dogs,'' he said.
"And they want me to talk about regionalism. I'm not feeling very regional right now,'' Nagin said.
His idea to create a charter school system of 20 schools that he, rather than the Orleans Parish School Board, would control was prompted by the extreme pressure that the board is under to open schools on the city's east bank...
Even with 60 percent of the 1,061 identified hurricane deaths being from New Orleans, there are still 4,000 to 7,000 missing New Orleanians...

Criminal sheriff to Nagin: pay my bill!

Marlin Gusman, Criminal Sheriff for Orleans Parish wants to hold the City of New Orleans in contempt for refusing to pay his bills.
Nagin: "At a time when we are working diligently to rebuild New Orleans, I find this action incredibly insensitive and mean-spirited... We just had a round of painful layoffs. If this motion is successful, it could force further layoffs of our police officers and other City workers... To be held in contempt, there must be a showing of willful disobedience or willful disregard of a court order. I cannot imagine how anyone acting in good faith and good conscience could make that allegation against the City for its failure to pay. We have lost all revenue sources for operating expenses and are currently out of cash... This is the time for all officials to work together. I urge the Sheriff to drop this counterproductive lawsuit and join us to lobby both the state and federal government for the financial resources we desperately need to bring New Orleans back."
As it says at the link, Nagin opposed Gusman in the election for Criminal Sheriff, favoring Warren Riley who's now the police chief.

Nagin tours shelters, urges return

From "Return To New Orleans Is Urged":

Amid fears that the effort to repopulate New Orleans is stalling, Mayor C. Ray Nagin hopscotched shelters across the state Wednesday to assure Hurricane Katrina evacuees that the city is beginning to operate again and urged them to "come on home."
It is a daunting task. New Orleans's lower Ninth Ward reopened to residents Wednesday, but few came back. The number of students in neighboring communities has been reduced by half. Business owners are desperate for workers, and city leaders are increasingly concerned that many residents will never return.
Evacuees are scattered across 44 states, and many have vowed to remain where they landed.
Red Cross officials say about 550,000 remain in hotels and motels subsidized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency...

And:

[Thad] Allen said the relief effort's "number-one priority" is to place Louisiana storm victims who need government help in long-term housing within the state, unless and until doing so proves unfeasible.

City had evac plan, didn't put in place

From "City blamed for botching N.O. evac plan":

They gave New Orleans city officials an affordable plan to evacuate 30,000 low-income, elderly and homeless people, said New Orleans attorney Val Exnicios.
But city officials failed to put it in play come crunch time, he claims.
Exnicios blames city officials for botching an evacuation plan in place as needy evacuees disappeared during Hurricane Katrina.
"I can tell you unequivocally I watched Mayor (C. Ray) Nagin lie on CNN when he said there was never a plan to evacuate these people," Exnicios said. "For whatever reason no one pulled the trigger and instituted the emergency evacuation plan we came up with."
The proposed emergency evacuation plan put together by a coalition of private citizens and public officials called for trains and buses to transport about 30,000 evacuees out of the city.
Amtrak agreed to provide passenger cars free while the Regional Transit Authority agreed to supply buses, said Rusty Wirth, director of the New Orleans Mission.
"We gave the plan to the city and they said it's a really good idea and then they sat there and twiddled their thumbs and never took the steps to put it in motion," Wirth said. "The Friday before the hurricane we had a meeting with the Red Cross and held training sessions for evacuation with the trains but it never got that far along."
...Shortly before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, Exnicios and Zainey met with [Joseph Matthews, New Orleans chief of the Office of Emergency Preparedness], who assured them buses would be provided to evacuate the homeless from New Orleans.
"We sat across the table from him and Matthews said, 'Don't worry about it. It's done. I guarantee you we'll have buses and or trains available.' We both left happy," said Exnicios. "It was a tragic comedy as it turns out..."

Blanco blocks Nagin gambling plan

Mayor Ray Nagin's plan to build a Vegas-style section of New Orleans will not be a part of Louisiana's planned legislation:

Blanco's statement said she never believed that gambling should be the base on which to build the economy. Instead, she says people and businesses need federal tax credits and a stronger public education system to stimulate growth and reconstruction in New Orleans.
Nagin's proposal -- unveiled Friday -- already had received cool reception by many politicians. The plan calls for a large-scale gambling area in the city's central business district. Hotels that have more than 500 rooms would be able to add gambling.
But the proposal would require legislative approval and Harrah's Entertainment Incorporated, which runs a land-based casino in New Orleans, to give up its exclusive gambling rights.

NO Council questions Nagin's casino plans

As previously discussed, Mayor Ray Nagin wants to bring NO back by building a casino district.
From "Council members balk at Nagin's casino plans":

Nagin proposed allowing the city's largest hotels in a boundary between Poydras and Canal Streets from Claiborne Avenue to the river, to become full-fledged casinos.

But, it's met resistance:

Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson said Nagin hasn't explored all of the options... she believes current gambling doesn't bring in new, outside money, but takes from locals, and that more casinos would strip the city of its culture and history. She and others say it would be too much like Las Vegas.
"Not only do we not want to be a Vegas in gambling, but we don't want their version of entertainment," she said. "We have our own version of entertainment and our own local entertainers. And so why would we import anything Las Vegas? That's insane! I would not be in favor of it."
..."It just doesn't seem like it's the right solution for our city," added Councilman Jay Batt. "I think we could really hurt our character of our city, our culture. The things that attract people to our city, we may damage that by trying to jumpstart the economy very quickly but maybe irresponsibly."
Nagin's other opposition could be the current gaming industry in the city. As of now, Harrah's entertainment is the only company allowed to operate a land-based casino here. So the city would have to go back to the negotiating table with them as well...

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New Orleans had contracts with bus companies to do evacuations?

The Loyola University Hurricane Emergency Plan (effective August 1, 2003) is available here or in this cached page, and it contains this:

Limited bus transportation is available to evacuate those resident students who are unable to evacuate on their own. Loyola can only evacuate approximately 150 remaining residents. The City of New Orleans and other agencies contract commercial bus carriers to evacuate hospitals, nursing homes, retirement communities, etc., and those providers will not normally reserve busses for the university to transport college students.

In the comments, please post additional information on this. What happened to the contracted buses? Are these the buses that were used to transport people to the Superdome, the shelter of last resort? What type of evac was done of Loyola?
See the last comment here, reporting on the on-the-scene reports from "ColdChef":

While it is true that there was no clear plan of evacuation (at least to the everyday citizens of New Orleans), on-the-fly plans involving buses and the Superdome fell into place quickly. Saturday and Sunday were beautiful, clear days and even though police drove around with bullhorns, begging people to at least head for higher ground, many people never even attempted to evacuate or seek shelter.... I know people involved in the evacuation effort and NO ONE was denied help if they asked for it. So, yes, while the plans were lacking and they relied heavily on self-preservation, there were alternatives. Alternatives that were, for whatever reason, ignored.

And:

The local nursing home was taking elderly refugees from New Orleans and they needed help unloading them when they got there.... Five large tourbuses from New Orleans showed up with at least fifty patients on each. For the next four hours we carried these old folks off the buses, put them into wheelchairs and brought them inside.

And, see this.
And, refering to a different university:

Edwards was one of about 400 Xavier students who weathered the storm on campus while waiting to be rescued. "I did not evacuate. I originally thought that the school had an evacuation plan for us, so I stuck around until the last minute," Edwards said. "That's when I learned there was no plan."
He was in a seven-story dormitory that lost parts of its roof in the fierce storm. The students, staying on the third and fourth floors of the building, waited for help for nearly a week.
On Thursday morning, the New Orleans Police Department arrived on boats to rescue the students.

(Originally via this)

Nagin supports gaming zone

No, not video games, but gambling. He envisions a U-shaped section of downtown New Orleans being converted into a gaming zone, with hotels in the zone being able to convert themselves into Vegas-style casinos. There's one casino there now, Harrah's, and it's reportedly suffered financial problems as well as being controversial.

Nagin said he had approached Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco about the plan and offered to split the tax revenues, a figure he said could approach the $150 million neighboring Mississippi received annually.
The gambling zone proposal would need the approval of the city council and the state legislature.

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Ray Nagin, man of many companies

Louisiana's Corporation database is here. If you select 'Individual' and enter 'Nagin' in the search box, you come up with the following. This list was created by clicking "Next" a couple times, and some of those named 'Nagin' may have no relationship to the Mayor. And, at least a few of these businesses appear to be inactive. You can find out more about each business by doing your own search and clicking the links. Here's the results:
Louisiana Secretary of State
Name Search Results
(Active Records Shown in Bold)
MAYOR C. RAY NAGIN, President, LOUISIANA CONFERENCE OF MAYORS
C. RAY NAGIN, President, THE MAYOR'S FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION, INC.
C. RAY NAGIN, Director, MAYOR'S MILITARY ADVISORY COMMITTEE OF THE CITY OF NEW
C. RAY NAGIN, Member or Manager, NEW ORLEANS ICE BRASS MANAGEMENT, L.L.C.
THE HONORABLE MAYOR C. RAY NAGIN, Director, NEW ORLEANS BUILDING CORPORATION
C. RAY NAGIN, Registered Agent, BLACK CAT PRODUCTIONS, L.L.C.
C. RAY NAGIN, Member or Manager, BLACK CAT PRODUCTIONS, L.L.C.
C. RAY NAGIN, Manager, VALUE LEASING, L.L.C.
C. RAY NAGIN, Manager, VALUE RENTAL CAR, L.L.C.
C. RAY NAGIN, Director, RAY NAGIN TRANSITION, INAUGURATION AND CHARITABLE FUND
C. RAY NAGIN, Director, ORLEANS-JEFFERSON ECONOMIC COLLABORATIVE, INC.
C. RAY NAGIN, Member, STONE AGE, L.L.C.
C. RAY NAGIN, Member, AFO INVESTMENTS , L.L.C.
C. RAY NAGIN, Director, AMERICA'S NEW ORLEANS FUND, INC.
RAY NAGIN, Director, NEW ORLEANS ICE BRASS, INC.
RAY NAGIN, Member or Manager, NEW ORLEANS BRASS, L.L.C.
RAY NAGIN, Director, RAY NAGIN CAMPAIGN FUND
(This is the only one with this misspelling)
MAYOR C. RAY NAGIS, Director, NEW ORLEANS MUNICIPAL EQUIPMENT LEASING CORPORATION
(Same last name begins here)
E. J. NAGIN, Registered Agent, NARD, INCORPORATED
JEREMY R. NAGIN, Registered Agent, STONE AGE, L.L.C.
JEREMY R. NAGIN, Member, STONE AGE, L.L.C.
JOHN DION NAGIN, Registered Agent, CNC WATER, INC.
JOHN DION NAGIN, Director, CNC WATER, INC.
JOHN P. NAGIN, Member or Manager, BELLE CHASSE DUG-OUT CLUB, L.L.C.
LAWRENCE M. NAGIN, Vice President, E & T TRADING CORPORATION
SELETHA A. NAGIN, Director, THE CENTER FOR RENEWAL AND EQUITY FOUNDATION

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