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The latest on Katrina's aftermath

(CNN) -- Check here for the latest information from the hurricane-stricken Gulf Coast region and other affected areas. Items are time-stamped when entered.

Tuesday, September 6

Louisiana official: Katrina may shut New Orleans schools for whole year

BATON ROUGE, La. (CNN) -- Public schools in New Orleans and neighboring St. Bernard Parish may be shut down for the entire school year due to damage from Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana's state school chief said Tuesday.

Superintendent of Education Cecil Picard said 135,000 public school students and 52,000 private and parochial school students attended classes in those parishes. Many students whose families evacuated the area have begun to register for schools in other states or other parts of Louisiana, Picard said. (Posted 9:45 p.m.)

5 dead in hurricane zone after infection with cholera cousin ATLANTA ATLANTA (CNN) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that five people have died in the area hit by Hurricane Katrina after becoming infected with Vibrio vulnificus, typically a more benign relative of the bacteria that cause cholera.

One of the fatalities occurred in Texas; the other four were in Mississippi, said CDC spokesman Tom Skinner. (Posted 9:40 p.m.)

New Orleans mayor issues everyone out of Big Easy

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- Mayor Ray Nagin ordered police and other law enforcement agencies Tuesday night to remove everyone from New Orleans who is not involved in cleaning up behind Hurricane Katrina, whether they want to go or not.

An expanded evacuation order authorizes state and local police, firefighters, National Guard troops and other military forces "to compel the evacuation of all persons from the City of New Orleans." (Posted 9:33 p.m.)

House committee to launch Katrina hearings next week

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Saying it has become "increasingly clear" that local, state and federal agencies failed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the chairman of the House Government Reform Committee on Tuesday said his committee will begin holding hearings next week to get to the bottom of what went wrong.

"Now it's our job to figure out why, and to make sure we are better prepared for the future," Tom Davis, R-Va., said in a written statement. (Posted: 5:30 p.m.)

Public health officials work to limit spread of disease in shelters

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Public health officials said Tuesday they are more concerned about possible toxic chemicals in the water in New Orleans than they are about an outbreak of cholera in the region, and were taking steps to limit the outbreak of disease in the overcrowded shelters whose residents could prove susceptible.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday that, more than a week after Hurricane Katrina hit the region, health officials still don't know if the water contains toxic chemicals.

Instead, public health officials are preparing for possible outbreaks of infectious disease, focusing on E. coli and other diseases that can cause diarrhea, including Norwalk viruses, which have caused outbreaks on cruise ships. (Posted: 3:54 p.m.)

New Orleans draining, but slowly

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- Although two pumping stations were back online in New Orleans after engineers had completed patching the levee breaches that had let the water flow into the city, the process will be anything but fast. "Fortunately, the downtown area that has been so much focused, we think that's going to be one of the less challenging areas," Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, told CNN's American Morning. "We bracketed this on the outside about 24 days to drain, and we'll work to make that even quicker. "However, there are areas that may take up to 80 days," he said.

New Orleans flood waters contaminated with e. coli
NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- Water that has been standing in New Orleans since the city's brush with Hurricane Katrina is contaminated with E. coli bacteria, an official in the office of Mayor Ray Nagin, who declined to be identified, told CNN Tuesday.

The presence of E. coli bacteria can be an indication of contamination by raw sewage. Drinking water contaminated with E. coli can lead to serious illness and death if not properly treated. (Posted: 1:23 p.m. ET)

Military officials: Chertoff sees disastrous conditions at Superdome firsthand
From CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr:

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff got a first-hand look at the dire conditions inside the Louisiana Superdome on Monday night, military officials said.

Chertoff was escorted by Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, the head of Task Force Katrina.

City officials told New Orleans residents who could not evacuate the city to seek shelter at the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina.

As the city flooded, thousands were stranded inside without food, water or electricity. Several died -- some of them, according to reports, at the hands of armed gangs.

The Superdome is now under military control. (Posted: 1:09 p.m.)

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