Saturday, July 22, 2006

New Orleans, one year later: Still a disaster

(New York Times) NEW ORLEANS, July 21 — To the list of daily aggravations in the new New Orleans, add one that augments the heat, spoils the food and drains the cash register: power failures.

The wind blows and a neighborhood’s power goes out. Or it rains and the power goes out somewhere else. Thunder crashes distantly and out goes the power.

Ten months after Hurricane Katrina, the city still does not have a reliable electrical system. Hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of repairs are still needed on a system devastated by flooding, the local utility is in bankruptcy and less than half the system’s prestorm customers have returned. Of those who have, many have endured hot and sleepless nights with no air-conditioning.

“How do you expect the city to recover when you don’t have a reliable source of electrical power?” asked Robert Harmon, an engineering consultant in the Bywater neighborhood.

John Aravosis: Regular power failures. Hmm... what other city has regular power failures? Oh yeah. Baghdad.

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