Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Billions of dollars with nowhere to go
No matter how many times I come to New Orleans, the destruction surprises me. But even more surprising is how much work still needs to be done.

I went to New Orleans yesterday to take a good, hard look at Mayor Ray Nagin's "100-day plan" for rebuilding and revitalizing the city.

Today marks day 26, nearly a third of the way into the 100-day plan, and everyone seems to have an opinion about whether or not enough has been done so far. Many people accuse city hall of more inaction than action.

We stopped on a corner in the lower ninth ward where Michael Reed was battling 90-degree heat to fix up his mother's house. Until the storm hit, she had lived there for 49 years. Since Katrina, she has been living in an apartment in Texas. I didn't have to spend more than a minute with Michael to see his frustration.

"That's what politicians do. They throw out a 100-day plan. When that one's over they'll throw out another 100-day plan, so I guess we'll be like that for three or four years. By the time he gets out of office, the next guy will have a 100-day plan," he told me.

In some areas, such as the Lakeview neighborhood, there is some progress. Damaged homes are gutted, with many completely rebuilt. But around nearly every corner there is still a ton of trash, piles of debris that dwarf me, and I'm 5'3".

Rob Couhig, who is heading up the 100-day plan committee, says starting today there is a plan for trash cleanup. He says there is also a plan to get every streetlight operating and every stop sign back upright.

"This is not a magic wand, 100 days. It is to lay the predicate for the next three years," Couhig told me.

Billions of dollars in federal aid are heading to New Orleans, but neither Couhig nor the mayor's office could explain where all that money is going to be spent.

City Councilman Oliver Thomas says crime and housing should be priorities. With just half the population of New Orleans back in the city, crime is reaching pre-storm levels. And people here still don't know which neighborhoods will be rebuilt and when Mayor Nagin will let the public know.

I asked Councilman Thomas what he would do if it was his 100-day plan.

"If it was my 100 day plan, man, you would have the AFL-CIO and their pledge of $1 billion for homes. They'd be out there working right now. ... You would have a job or workforce development plan where residents are being trained in the recovery," he said.

That's his take. What would you do if you had 100 days to get New Orleans going again?
Posted By Randi Kaye, CNN Correspondent: 9:50 AM ET
It seems obvious to me that now he's been elected what happens to the great people of New Orleans doesn't mattter, I'm from Canada and it breaks my heart every time I see the devastation that is STILL there, thank God for people and reporters like Anderson Cooper for keeping it in the limelight. Doesn't Nagin realize that not just America but people all over the world watch shows like 360 and all it's great reports and he's being a BAD example to us all.
Beverly, Whitby, Ont. CANADA
Posted By Anonymous Bev. Whitby, Ont. Canada : 10:19 AM ET
The money will go where all NO money goes, everywhere but where it was earmarked for. History will repeat itself, How much of our money did Nagin spend to bus votes back for himself???
Posted By Anonymous F H Hartman, Gulfport, Ms : 10:32 AM ET
I'd let the people who will be living there have a say in what to do with any FED funds.

Hold town/neighborhood mtgs. Get a consensus of what type of city resources are needed in a 'rebuilt' NO.

With that, recruit actual residents of New Orleans to join in the rebuilding effort--if that involves training some for various construction skills--great. It would make them that much more invested in the effort.

You at least try to make a positive out of a negative.
Posted By Anonymous TMagro, Alexandria, VA : 10:56 AM ET
There is no rush for a magic plan apparently but there needs to be one a.s.a.p.. I have been in St Bernard Parrish a couple of months ago and the state of devastation still, goes way beyond comprehension.
Another storm to finish whatever is left standing ????
These are human beings waiting to go on with their life, whether they are black, white, rich or poor. It's been more than 10 months now...
Posted By Anonymous Manon, Longueuil, Quebec : 10:56 AM ET
A 100-Day plan is an insane idea. As stated it is mearly a catch phrase by which a politician appears to be doing something when he is not. The beginning needs to be in the utilities and downtown area of the city and from their radiate out. Bring in construction crews to handle zip code areas to keep the construction on a timely schedule and from their employ the US Army's land movers to haul away the trash to designated sites. Why that man was elected to mayor is beyond me.
Posted By Anonymous Troy, Dallas Tx : 10:57 AM ET
100 day plan... The U.S. Army core of engineers could not rebuild that city in 100 days... and they can build anything. One day I hope for leaders that stop using catch phrases and start using reality as the basis for thier statements and plans.
Posted By Anonymous TJF, Wichita Falls TX : 11:02 AM ET
What would you do if you had 100 days to get New Orleans going again?


There is just so much that hasn't been done yet. A hundred days won't put a dent in anything.
Posted By Anonymous Tikka, Seattle, WA : 12:15 PM ET
This should be the plan: Quit wasting billions of dolloars trying to rebuild this place and get everyone out in a hundred days. This is a joke. Hopefully the politicians will use the money as wisely as the people used the FEMA credit cards.
Posted By Anonymous brian Bolingbrook,IL : 12:18 PM ET
Having once lived in the area...I'm aware of the fact that for years and years, many Louisana elected officials have always operated in a "less than honest" manner. I knew 26 years ago that the levees in NO wouldn't hold up to a large storm...you can't tell me that the officials didn't know it also. No wonder they've gone to the 100-day plan...which will turn into the 100-month plan and then, well you know.

Unfortunately the most damage was done in an area that could least afford it. The state/city could use some of the money for the recruitment of former residents who want to come back,who need jobs and who want to work, in there to rebuild and at the same time, they are learning trades, something they can use to support themselves in the future.

Our society in general is quickly becoming a "non-work" society -it's easier to put your hand out than to use your hands.

It's sad to see some of the people who are still expecting the government to pay their way...it's almost been a year. But it's even sadder that the Louisana elected officials are the ones in control of this money...
Posted By Anonymous Lee Rogers Durango, Colorado : 12:38 PM ET
A 100 day plan maybe unrealistic for a total rebuilding but it isn't unrealistic for a start to return back to some type of normalacy. I'm from St. Bernard Parish and I'm not suprised about Naggin's promises and broken promises. The politicians of Orleans have gone back to what they do best talk and stealing.

Personally, I would start rebuilding schools, finding jobs and trying to get the middle class back to Orleans instead of allowing the gangs and drug dealers to take over. The middle class won't come back to Orleans until their children and futures are taken care of. Right now that isn't even being addressed. Orleans is going right back to what it was labeled before the hurricane a great place to visit but a crime ridden, illiterate place to live. But it was home.
Posted By Anonymous Rebecca Sebring, Memphis TN : 12:48 PM ET
What you need to bring to light is that there is a shortage of building supplies. All of us in the badly hit hurricane areas are on waiting lists for months or more for simple repairs. Can you imagine the list to totally rebuild your home? 100 days is a very short sighted goal.
Posted By Anonymous Karen Gary Plantation, Florida : 12:58 PM ET
It would probably take 100 days just to put together a plan, let alone execute it. I'm not sure I even understand what the "plan" is to begin with. Like with any strategy or plan, weekly meetings should be held with those involved to drive it to completion. Perhaps Nagin should broadcast his "Planning Meetings" live on TV....that would be interesting to see...
Posted By Anonymous Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 12:59 PM ET
Just so darn sad..... Can anyone save us from our politicians?
Posted By Anonymous Margaret, Thousand Oaks CA : 1:16 PM ET
The "100 day plan" is a cover for them not actually having a plan. IT IS COMPLETELY DISGUSTING to see how they have done nothing to help New Orleans. The first thing I would do is get all of the homes built and to clean up the neighborhoods so that people can move back and make that wonderful city thrive again. Once again this administration is not paying attention to the needs at home.
Posted By Anonymous Krista, Cincinnati, Ohio : 1:21 PM ET
I would bring National Guard home from Iraq while each one is still alive and put their talents to work rebuilding our country.

Also what the councilman said made sense, "train those New Orleans citizens" too, by giving them lessons on carpentry, etc..

This group of trained citizens could be valuable down the road helping other regions devasted by teaching those citizens "how to do it". Quit talking and someone needs to get the ball rolling.

Stop wasting money on contractors..it would take every contracting company in the country to get this job done.
Posted By Anonymous Sid Noel, Port Orchard, WA : 1:27 PM ET
This is a Catch 22. If you let government in charge, there will be slowness, inefficiency, and politicking going on with the money. If you try to directly help people, fraud and waste abound as we saw with the people that got direct assistance for the hurricane. Makes me wonder if you let people be and let them struggle to rebuild on their own. If its worth rebuilding, thats what people will do.
Posted By Anonymous Jim, Philadelphia PA : 1:27 PM ET
It is amazing that they have waited so long to act. There is little (if any) excuse for not getting most of the city at least cleaned up.

First order of business after things "calmed" down was to deal with debris and getting infrastructure back in order. After all this time, why is there so much trash on the street? Why is public lighting not back in order? Incompetence. Getting the "basics" back to some semplance of order sets the foundation for rebuilding and gets people back to work both in the public and the private sector.
Posted By Anonymous Denis, Phoenix, AZ : 1:28 PM ET
I am writing from New Orleans where we are living with the leftover hell from the levee breaks - my heart goes out to Gulfport, MS where their devastation was caused 100% by nature. Here in New Orleans, the levee breaks and resulting flooding of 80% of the city was caused by neglect of the levees by the US Corp of Engineers. That said, Mayor Nagin is actually doing a very good job - a job delayed by an unnecessary re-election. Nagin is our first honest Mayor in the history of NOLA and he does have a plan and did get President Bush's attention to allocate the necessary funds - he is NOT a politician and, therefore, speaks his mind and and his heart and appears unrefined on the national news. I read the frustration of the national viewers regarding Nagin's re-elction, but while Nagin's opponent, Mitch Landrieu, is very impressive and well-spoken, he just did not inspire confidence here - on a side note, it was during Landrieu's father's reign as Mayor in the 70's when NOLA witnessed the crime spike we suffered from up to the events of Hurricane Katrina and that shadow followed Mitch in his challenge against Nagin. That said, please note that one of the earlier challengers for Mayor, Rob Couhig, now is helping Mayor Nagin with this 100 day plan which I think shows our crippled city trying to pull together. I am writing to clear that up, but also to thank Anderson Cooper and his staff for caring so much about us and keeping our stuggle in the news - we and the entire Gulf Coast need all the compassion and help we can get and we are very, very grateful.
Posted By Anonymous Kim Abramson, New Orleans, LA : 1:31 PM ET
Re: The 100-day plan.
It seems like a no-brainer to
just organize people and tasks.

I would start 3 trash companies to clean up debris.
....so I would build 2 giant lodges to house and feed workers.
...then a small hospital for emergencies....Water treatment plant.
....then I would rebuild
two schools elem. and middle school
at the same time..I would start
small developments of housing
even if it was little houses
two bedrooms to get people started
at moving in....Why is this so difficult??????
Posted By Anonymous ...Swimms, Oceans, TX : 1:43 PM ET
There are 2 priorities. Pumps and levees. Without both but especially pumps NOLA is going to be waterworld again. The pumps are not working. A rainstorm like this weekend in DC will fill the bowl and there is no way to get it out. 50k pumps need to be bought with automatic sensors and installed yesterday. The pipe infrastructure does not need to be changed. Just hook them up to it. There is no time for contracts and all of the political stuff. No pumps and waterworld and abandonment. Hurricanes may pass NOLA by (luck) but the rains will come. Each unworking pump needs to be identified and replaced and the status of EACH pump needs to be public knowledge (TP) each and every day until all are on line and working. Once the rains start Clearview and Veterans will flood and NO ONE will be able to get out. You will have a thousand lifeboat sites. Needless to say if the levees had been armored (would have been done if started when proposed) the cracks and such would not be a threat. Now the levee cracks will add to the disaster looming. Fixing the pumps now will buy time for next season assuming any kind of luck. THAT is ALL that is left for NOLA. It didn't have to be this way.
Posted By Anonymous Donald Raab Washington DC and Lakeview NOLA : 1:46 PM ET
Lets see.... the money should first be spent on debris removal (without a doubt)there is alot of it everywhere. There is also a huge need to restore electricity in as much of the city as technically possible. It's difficult to rebuild your house in 90 degree heat with no electricity. The healthcare crisis is an issue as well with hospital waits for up to 8 or more hours. But I honestly must say, having lived in the area for 9 years, the criminal justice system needs to be completely revamped. The crime is getting WAY out of control and the criminals are right back on the street again within 60 days.
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer Haynes, Slidell, Louisiana : 1:50 PM ET
I would get every bulldozer in the southeast and line them up at the end of the ninth ward. On the 'go' signal they would then proceed, in line, and proceed to the other end of the ninth ward.The debris would be dumped, as they went, into another line comprised of every dump truck in the southeast. In the process, the area would be completely flattened and cleared. Then I would drop bundled, prefab houses on every lot. Thusands of workers would then start in a line and put up the houses as they went until they reached the other end. Presto. The ninth is rebuilt.
Posted By Anonymous J.P. Hunter Williamsburg , VA : 1:50 PM ET
As a resident of South Louisiana, I am embarrassed and disgusted by the lack of progress and politics as usual mentality of our elected officials. The 100 Day Plan is a joke, and not a very funny one at that. Competent people need to be in place to properly spend the billions sent down here so that New Orleans and the rest of the state can return to any sense of normalcy. Sadly, I am not sure where those qualified individuals are currently hiding. Old party boy ties need to be forgotten and our "leaders" need to realize that their main goal should be doing what is best for the citizens of the city and other areas affected by Katrina and Rita, not what is best for their own pockets or political careers. A plan of action needs to be in place, people who can get the job done need to be in place, and then action needs to occur. I realize this is a long-term process. However, piles of debris, citizens scattered across the nation, the National Guard in town to handle crime, and no real evidence of rebuilding tell me that our government hasn't been doing its job. Our citizens in every election since the storms have blown the opportunity for a solution when the same officials were voted into office again. Keep on "keeping them honest". Maybe our politicians will answer to you. They surely haven't to those they claim to serve. Thank you for not letting America forget we still deal with this every day of our lives. Thank you for keeping your promise to the people of LA and MS.
Posted By Anonymous TA Cheramie, Berwick, LA : 1:57 PM ET
This 100-day plan is ridiculous, this is the city of New Orleans we are talking about! I agree with what Mr. Reed said about how the plan will just be stretched out further and further, and pretty soon they're going to demand more money. They should consider putting Councilman Thomas's plan into action because the city of New Orleans won't survive unless it's citizens pitch in the effort.
Posted By Anonymous Reem, Oakville, ON, Canada : 2:03 PM ET
The 100 day plan = probably one of the worst plans out there in the world, right next to flushing all of the toilets in a school to create a mini-flood.

What makes it such a bad plan is what it covers and what it doesn't and how much action is being taken. On top of that, if there are so many illegal immigrants in the U.S. that are willing to do labor, why don't we just send them down to New Orleans. They'd probably cut the production time of house building in half. THAT would be a good 100 day plan.

Hurricane season is back in action, are you ready for the next hit New Orleans?
Posted By Anonymous Kennfer, NY, NY. : 2:11 PM ET
Looking at it logically, 100 days is a pretty silly idea. Most construction companies here take 60-90 days to complete one home. Just assuming that they're working on 100 houses at one time (way, way optimistic), and there's 20 construction companies (again, optimistic), that's 2000 houses every 90 days. Now granted, I haven't been in N.O., but I'm thinkin' that there's probably more than 2000 houses in need of rebuilding.
Nagin, and the remainder of the powers that be in N.O. need to learn about the military process of re-entrenchment. Pull back the borders, rebuild everything within the smaller region, and then begin moving out again. Painful? Certaintly. Will it disenfranchise a massive population? Yes. But unless they start somewhere, and make that start count, they will continue to get nowhere. 2000 homes is a pretty good start. Pick a district/subdivision/whatever. Get all of the houses, services, what have you completely functional and rebuilt there. Ensure it's policed adequately. Then move on.
For those that are disenfranchised during the process - let them have sweat equity. Put those FEMA trailers to use, and give the people who help rebuild their communities subsidized utilities while living in them. Then, once they're helped rebuild other people's houses, others will help build their house. Give the proud owners of the new house some subsidies to purchase some luxury items for the rebuilt home - they'll deserve it, and it's easier to track that those silly cash cards were.
But if Nagin wants to be the people's mayor, he can start by becoming the people's motivator. Help those who help others - it's a mantra we could all learn something from.
Posted By Anonymous Alex Nicoll, Omaha, NE : 2:12 PM ET
"Money is the root of all evil" Now it seems like politicians are the root of all evil. You can't trust anyone in office now days. "White Collar Crimes" Crime with no remorse. I'm happy to be an American, disappointed to be apart of G. Bush and all his idiotic decisions. He cheated the election and now he's cheating the american people out of billions of dollars. Funds to help New Orleans, funds to help our Americans and most importantly killing our youth in a war to..... Why are we in this war? Bush has set us back a few years once we get someone in office that cares about America we'll be in better shape.
Posted By Anonymous Matthew, Denver Colorado : 2:15 PM ET
I have only two things to add after reading these blog: 1) many thanks to those people who are genuinely interested in our future, and 2) we need to call upon our leadership for them to deliver in a timely manner.

If Federal dollars are coming it is important to have a transparent and expeditious process with set priorities and timelines. It is our obligation to the taxpayer.

Here in New Orleans we are determined to build and preserve the history and culture of this magical city. It is important for the Nation and the rest of the world. Neighborhood associations are very organized while are leaders are coming up with so many discussions and plans that do not materialize. Meanwhile our leadership is being discredited by its lack of action. This lack of action is giving an excuse to the Feds to say �those people down there won�t get it together, so let�s pull the plug�

Please keep up both the interest and the pressure. Thanks Anderson!!!
Posted By Anonymous John J Estrada, New Orleans, LA : 2:17 PM ET
Ray Nagin is just another idiotic politician given to catch phrases and feel-good rhetoric. I don't know what I would do with all that money but I never claimed to be a fiscal expert. Given the city's pechant for corruption, I can certainly tell you where a good portion of all those tax dollars will end up.
Posted By Anonymous A. Roy Olson Tucson, AZ : 2:20 PM ET
That area is the definition of disaster. In 100 days the government there, even with it's billions of dollars, probably won't be able to do anything more than think of excuses. There's manual labor to be done, and plenty of people who'd love to get paid. Should be pretty simple.
Posted By Anonymous Dan, NY, NY : 2:31 PM ET
If you promise billions of dollars to fix New Orleans it will take more than 100 days to do it. Make a more realistic plan of action for reviatlizing the city and take smaller steps.
Posted By Anonymous Brian, Nashua NH : 2:34 PM ET
THe 100 day plan is a bunch of hog wash. Politicians and "leaders" need to stop talking the talk and actually get their hands dirty for once. A true leader will initiate work not just delegate it upon other people. I am sick of politicians most of them are just full of themselves and need to experience a day in a true workers shoes. Then they would have more first hand experience and actually know how difficult and STUPID a 100 day plan is.
Posted By Anonymous Nicole, Columbus OH : 2:35 PM ET
This may sound naive but I think the first thing they should do is hire someone qualified to get this thing moving... Give that person an excellent salary, give him/her the power to hire a workforce able to "move mountains"... It can be done, but they have to hire someone with EXPERIENCE in this kind of catastrophe... Start this person off with a huge payroll, all the resources needed and get out of the way... It can be done... Those in charge of New Orleans are starting to look like incompetent imbeciles... We are already into the next hurricane season, for heaven's sake... I could understand if it were lack of money, but, forgive me, the only thing they are lacking is brainpower... brainpower that's missing...
Posted By Anonymous Sherry S, Sarasota, Florida : 2:36 PM ET
A plan is not worth the paper it is written on or the breath it takes to state it unless there is some hope of success. The residents and businesses need to be enfranchised in the planning as well as the accomplishing of goals. Politics must take a back seat to actively taking part in the solution. American's are very resiliant, resourcefull and determined when faced with a challenge. Put the funds in place, remove government redtape and involve the people who will do the work in the plan. Then, lead, follow or get out of the way as this area is healed.
Posted By Anonymous Craig R., Tustin, CA : 2:39 PM ET
Does anyone care about New Orleans anymore? Eveyone is corrupt now days, non doers and liers. The Fall of the American Empire! Oh its going to be the North American Union now. Are we going to change our flag and speak spanish?
Posted By Anonymous Bob, Atlanta Georgia : 2:45 PM ET
First, let me thank Randi Kaye for posting this blog. Actually im thankful for posting the reality. We all know, that the money never reaches its destination. 100 day plan, is just another excuse to keep the money in the pockets. I just hope that there was some way, that the money directly went to the needy. I would also like to see how much they have rebuilt so far. Michael Reed is absolutely right, the government will keep throwing 100 day plan...new mayon will come, he/she will use their policy...this will never end.
Posted By Anonymous dimple patel, Lodi, New Jersey : 2:46 PM ET
The 100 day plan sounds like a diet.

Here's my idea on getting things going:

1. Clear the roads! How many times does Anderson have to broadcast from the street with a fisherman's boat on a house that moved off the foundation?

2. Ensure proper health care is stabilized! New Orleans shouldn't be running as a third world country in receiving health care!

3. Ensure the safety of all residents! Having the National Troops there is a start but it's obvious that more trained police officers are needed to keep people safe.

4. Get utilities in working order.

5. Train more government employees to handle the housing and business re-building projects. Skelton government staff isn't going to cut it.

A decision shouldn't be made today as to which areas should be rebuilt. Each area should be assessed on an individual and community basis and not merely at a government level.

Most importantly, stay positive!

Thank you for your continued coverage on New Orleans. It's important that we all learn from this disaster.
Posted By Anonymous Nicki F., Calgary, Alberta : 2:51 PM ET
If I had 100 days to get New Orleans back on it's feet... I'd be using some of the money to get willing workers from the rest of the US and Canada down there to help clean up and build. Seriously, less talk and more action! How long did it take to think up the 100 day plan? Probably 200 days, right? Forget the 100 day plan- get going. I want to go!

BTW, I've just started reading your book Anderson. Awesome job!
Posted By Anonymous Lisa, Kitchener, ON, Canada : 2:53 PM ET
Memo to Randi, Anderson , et al.:

How about a "100 Days of Keeping them Honest" journal, in which each 360 contributor gets updates from Mr. Nagin and gives the public a running account of the progress.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - Chicago IL : 2:58 PM ET
I'm getting so sick of hearing about Katrina, NO, post Katrina and whatever. First it was 9/11, now Katrina and every other disaster in between and my tax dollars being wasted under the guise of doing good or people ill-prepared. Disaster is not a new concept yet people are never prepared for it. 200 years ago the government did not bail people out if their house blew over or the spouse or family member died. They rebuilt their house and they moved on. They didn't wail about it and count off the days and months since the "tragedy". Surviving this or any other disaster does not make you some kind of hero and why are you expecting my tax dollars to bail your ass out?
Posted By Anonymous Lisa Fairfax, PA : 3:11 PM ET
There should have been a "100 day plan" when it happened or before it happened.
Posted By Anonymous smith, atlanta, ga : 3:11 PM ET
Addendum to my "100 Days of Keeping Them Honest" post:

Days 1 -26 ..."did nothing much"
Posted By Anonymous xtina - Chicago IL : 3:13 PM ET
First I would like to applaud CNN for keeping this issue in the news. You guys are the only ones that seem to care about this city.
Wasn�t NO generating 8 billion a year in tourism? I would be interested to know how that number compares to cities like NY, LA, Vegas etc. How will they ever get back to the bustling business of tourism at this rate? It�s been 10 months! I have been to NO a couple of times and fell in love with the city�I think most people do. It�s really disturbing to me to see it in the state its� in.
The money obviously needs to go to the people that need it most�the poor.
Wasn�t half of the households in NO living in poverty before Katrina? I can only imagine how far they have spiraled after the storm. It�s alarming and it�s so not how I picture U.S. citizens living. This is a wake up call if ever there was one.
I only wish Canada would get more involved--they seem to be asleep regarding this issue.
Posted By Anonymous Sheri Short Toronto, Ont. Canada : 3:13 PM ET
The other commenters are right about what is the number one priority, remove all the debis and create a clean slate to work from.
Posted By Anonymous Genevieve M, El Paso, TX : 3:14 PM ET
You have to vote these people out of office.The entire Gov. is failing the basic needs of the people. Nothing has been done effectively.From congress to the white house to the senate, our politicians are wasting time and resources on trivial pursuits. Flag burning , gay marriage , and english as the national language are not critical issues right now!
Posted By Anonymous Brian, Rush, KY : 3:27 PM ET
I am still numb to it all... absolutely numb. To watch the federal, state, and local governments of the area leave the bodies of American citizens out on American streets to rot and be scavenged by wild, hungry, opportunistic animals is unconscionable. I remember reading a story (just a few short months ago) about victim�s bodies being discovered in abandoned homes to this day. I�m numb.

Like many Americans, I�m sure, I don�t know who to believe � certainly not the Bush administration, who collectively haven�t said a complete truth since assuming the throne in 2001. I look at all of the terrible policies and decisions emanating from the White House, and I feel utterly divorced and alien from their paradigm. What I can gather is that the victims of Katrina are on their own... federal aid will never fully come to their rescue. It�s an absolute tragedy.

If I had a hundred days to try and fix things, I would politely ask Bill and Melinda Gates for a humanitarian contribution (being that they are both such wonderful, generous human beings � truly). I�m thinking our government is so corrupt at this point that they cannot be trusted to do right by the people any more � it�s time for them to prove their worth, or resign. I see a lot of time and energy being wasted on ancillary issues such as �banning gay marriage� or �prohibiting flag burning�. Gee, I bet the people of Katrina feel glad that they have been sufficiently cared for before our government can focus on silly non-issues!

Shame on them.
Posted By Anonymous D.G.B. (Cleveland, Ohio) : 3:39 PM ET
Honestly, I believe that the whole "100 Day" wording is just hot air. It's made to sound like there is some kind of deadline and urgency on the part of the government but it's all lip service.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa Baldeo, Jamaica Estates, NY : 3:47 PM ET
Do what people used to do when someone needed a barn-get everyone together and start working. I don't understand the town politics that have trailers for people to live in but don't want the refugees in their town so they sit empty-it's a disgrace! And everyone can make a stink about a few bad individuals using their relief money for beer but what about the governments own wasteful spending and the resulting chaos; we don't stop giving them money do we? This should never have happened in the first place but considering it did, the people in charge need to pull together, kick out the ones who are holding back progress and let the people come back and build their communities. The fact that so much is still left undone makes me think this is due to someone's bright idea to use the tradedy as some type social cleansing to bring back only the wealthy and let the other states share the less than fortunate ones.
Posted By Anonymous M. Cione Shepherd, MI : 3:59 PM ET
I think getting the trash out of the city and then looking at the place as if it was going to all be rebuilt , and getting people in the city that can build houses and fix houses is hugh. Are there even contractors there in place to lay foundations, frame a house wire it plumb it and roof it?

Are there just homeowners or are there contractors there? I see time and time again someone who is "working on Moms house" or a guy just dragging more stuff out in the ally. Aren't there real construction workers there?

Where is ANY OF THE MONEY being spent? Are there still just folks from churches showing up uo help dig out or are there companies with hired employees going to work daily to clear and start the building? All I ever see from you guys in TV is talking to guys in the street working on Moms poor old house.
Posted By Anonymous B Kimberly Omaha NE : 3:59 PM ET
It's interesting, one question I do have to ask is out of the last 26 days of the total 100 how many of those days has Mayor Nagin actually been physically in New Orleans? I hope all those Federally mandated dollars don't disappear as quickly as he has. Another question to ponder is why has it taken 26 days to have a plan in place for trash pickup & what's the formal plan? As far as I can see in my neighborhood (Lakeview) we've had relatively consistent trash pickup. It would help if people who lived in other parishes didn't drive up and dump their trash in your yard but I guess the NOPD can worry about that one.
Posted By Anonymous Gretchen Schneider, New Orleans LA : 5:43 PM ET
What a waste of good money! Everyone gave so generously after the hurricane and where is it all now? Why rebuild anywhere under sea level is beyond me but the problem is no one wants to work, they all sit around woe is me waiting for somebody to bail them out. The Amish people in Montgomery, Indiana suffered a lot of property damage from a tornado and 3 months later you would never know it, they have rebuilt it together as a community with not much federal assistance. The problem is people think their kids should spend all their free time in sports at school and after school. That teaches them no real skills for the real world. All these young men come out of high school with a lot of energy to burn and no skills. Where there is a will there is a way. Maybe if there was less drinking in NO and more working they would get somewhere!!!!
Posted By Anonymous Elizabeth, Washington, IN : 5:53 PM ET
As natives of New Orleans, now in Texas since 1980, we have long thought that it would be a great idea to create a branch of the school system, concentrating on the building trades. For years we have observed the gradual but steady decline of the maintenance and appearance of residential properties. Surely,not all young people can be slackers or thugs. There must be some who would welcome a chance to learn a trade that would provide the opportunity to make an honest living. What a learning laboratory post-K New Orleans offers. If experienced tradesmen could be recruited as instructors in framing, plumbing, roofing, electrical, sheetrock, painting, etc., and homeowners would volunteer their ravaged homes as projects for the students, a true win-win situation could be possible. Not all students are motivated to attend traditional classes in college prep, liberal arts oriented schools. Some of that money should be spent to provide a practical option, to the benefit of the students as well as the community.
Posted By Anonymous Grannie Marilyn, Fairview, TX. : 6:12 PM ET
It's very hard to say what I'd do... I think the people of New Orleans would have the best opinion on this matter. I am not there to see what needs to be done, what is the most pressing need, and I don't think I'd appreciate someone else telling me what I needed either.
100 days seems like the easily coined estimate of a reasonable amount of time, but I think it is alot shorter than it sounds. There is so much to do that 100 days will only be the begining.
A plan? Yea, I daresay someone has got their work cut out for the next 100 days...
Posted By Anonymous Christina Reynolds Yonkers, NY : 6:20 PM ET
We should at least create a master plan and measurement guidelines in the first 100 days. For those not familiar with New Orleans politics we�re currently on day 302, though the first 100 days officially started thirty something days ago. It�s the same calculation used to determine our low crime rate for the daytime/nighttime population. We have the lowest crime rate in the country using our formula versus the highest crime rate via formula used by everyone else. Anyway, the Bring Back New Orleans Commission addressed all aspects of rebuilding such as infrastructure, education, health services, economic development, and culture. This should be a guideline to build a master plan. Once the plan is in place we need to create ownership, obtain dynamic (proactive, flexible, and nimble) resources, and provide the tools needed to accomplish the objective at hand. The plan should be voted on by the city�s current population and the surrounding parishes soon after the 100 days. The reason for the vote is because New Orleanians made this one of the greatest and unique cities on the planet. We should control our own destiny. We have for the last three hundred years. Once the plan is approved, a phased process with goals set to reasonable time lines should be devised and presented to the public. Every 100 days (since this is the norm) the mayor should address the public as to what goals were not accomplished. This would save Anderson a trip down here in keeping them honest, though it would be nice to have him explain the formula we use.
Posted By Anonymous Louie Bonnecarre, New Orleans La. : 6:20 PM ET
URBAN PLANNING is the answer. This city is now being haphazardly redeveloped by homeowners, creating islands in a sea of disaster. The city does not have enough money or capable staff to handle providing services to the pre-K city footprint. The answer is not to take the federal funds and splash them over the entire wasteland in the name of fairness...at some point, the government needs to show leadership and give our city some tough but necessary medicine in order for it to survive.
Posted By Anonymous Michelle K, New Orleans, LA : 6:25 PM ET
Tens of billions to be spent, years to complete...WHY are they rebuilding in a location that is below sea level. Another storm(s) of Katrina's strength WILL hit again. With half the residents gone, the city should be moved to higher ground further inland. This is like rebuilding on sand. Neither goverment nor private insurers should fund such folly. Why? Because each one of us who pay taxes or purchase home insurance have to pay for poor judgment. We should insure homes built on sand along either coast for that matter. Where is common sense?
Posted By Anonymous Jack Woodburn, Tucson, AZ : 6:33 PM ET
Probably not original idea, but why not hire residents, like Gina, to help with clean-up. She sounds willing, capable and evidently works well with people.When people help others, they in turn are in a better frame of mind about themselves. Tell them to stop pouring funds down the drain and be able to show accountability and PROGRESS. I lives in Charleston SC and although Hugo was pretty bad, it was not as bad as Katrina. Thank the good Lord for our Mayor Riley - he is a visionary that makes the necessary decisions in order to achieve the action and results Charleston needs!
Posted By Anonymous Rita Lannutti Charleston SC : 12:47 AM ET
If I had a 100 days to get New Orleans going again the first thing I would do is try to convence many to leave the city and find a new life elsewhere. Cash in on anything they have and take whatever grants are available to move to Atlanta, Houston or some other city for a rebuilding of their life.
Next I would invite investors and builders into the city and help them convert the partly destroyed homes into a city of condos and apartments for those with money enough to buy them for vacation homes and part-year homes.
Perhaps this sounds strange but the people of New Orleans have proven they cannot rebuild even with massive public and private aid. The job just outsizes their skills.
Posted By Anonymous J. Kelley Macon, Ga : 1:58 AM ET
It's a sad situation and it sounds like it is only going to get worse.They need quit talking about plans and get busy rebuilding.This is ridiculous!Bring in the contractors with the bull dozers and dump trucks take it all down and rebuild! There is enough money allocated to get this done.Cut the red tape, put it around the politicians mouths and rebuild this city.Yeah it's no small task , but it should have mean done over 6 months ago.After rebuilding all the homes allow the folks to move in with interest free loans for the first 5 years. Atleast it would be a start, and that seems to be something the politicians of New Orleans can't grasp.For what has been spent already you could have rebuilt this city and had money left over.And by the way, they don't need FEMA down there measuring every tree limb or estimating the weight of every truck carrying out debri.Just get it done!Take a look out your window Mr. Mayor, your city is a wasteland.Get contractors in there that will get the job done, and quit wasting time and money.
Posted By Anonymous Steve P., Lewisville, TX. : 6:19 AM ET
This is another example of why my daughter did not return to Tulane. If the politicians had a plan to begin with...ie. to protect NO in the first place instead of channelling the funds elsewhere.. they wouldn't be in the situation they are in.
Posted By Anonymous Betsy, Potsdam, NY : 8:05 AM ET
I think it is so obvious that the delay in rebuilding is because everyone is feeding from the cash cow...And the mayor is more interested in his title than the rebuilding of the city...There is no plan because a plan requires wisdom and the lack of wisdom and common sense gives us our government leaders...
Posted By Anonymous Frank Ellis, Mountain View, Arkansas : 8:56 AM ET
Stop trying to rebuild the old and the 100 day plan should be rebuild a NEW, New Orleans. Ray Nagin should take a few pointers in the Book of Nehemiah to see how Nehemiah rebuilt the city of Jerusalem.
Posted By Anonymous Wilma Jenkins, Falls Church, Va. : 9:21 AM ET
I would encourage every one of us to contribute a dollar each to be sent to the city just for cleanup and or restoration with a board to manage the fund. We could send from churches and community's and other organizations like schools, each one of us would have a part in the reconstruction and it would feel like we helped in some way. I really don't trust some of the organizations accepting money for the reconstruction and think, will it truly get to the right place?
Posted By Anonymous Ellen E Johnson, Detroit Lakes, Mn. 56501 : 10:12 AM ET
I agree with Sid from Port Orchard. Bring our National Guard home from Iraq and stop contracting with subsidiraries of Haliburton. Why don't we use our military to rebuild our country instead of a country that doesn't seem to want our help. Enough is enough with these polititians making money off of our misery. I am just so sickened by the blatant corrupt government on every level and when things go down they all sit there pointing at one another, not one of them taking responsibility. Is it really a mystery as to why the "bad elements" have taken over parts of NOLA? Poverty and desperation create crime and lawlessness. Put it back together and make it even better, but still affordable for its original citizens to live, and you will get back the good people. I'm so disenchanted with our political system right now and this makes it even worse.
Posted By Anonymous Katherine, Woodland Hills CA : 11:21 AM ET
I am in agreement with most of the posters here that the 100 Day Plan is merely a catch-phrase and honestly he won't get much done. That being said, the question is what would I do if I had 100 days.

The first thing I would do is survey the damage and find a starting point. I know that sounds silly since there is so much devastation, but you have to start somewhere. Next I would involve the community. NO has many engineers, construction workers, other professions, etc living there that can provide insight and expertise. We would hold town meetings to involve the community on the rebuilding of their city. People with little or no skills would be given the opportunity to learn a trade while helping in the effort. Honestly it would take at least 100 days to develop a plan for rebuilding. During this time however people in the community could be helping in the cleanup. I would bring in counselors to help people deal with anxiety and depression. I do believe being involved would help people look to the future. I am not a city planner or an engineer, but it seems like involving the community, making a REAL plan and doing the cleanup while that plan is being ironed out makes sense. I certainly wouldn't call it a 100 day plan.

I am just glad Anderson and the rest of the CNN crew go back there to remind everyone the job is far from being done.
Posted By Anonymous Melina - Mesa, AZ : 12:13 PM ET
I went to N.O. last week and took the "post Katrina" tour at the suggestion of the concierge at our hotel. His home had been destroyed. At first, he thought the tours were in poor taste, but now he recommends them because people outside the region have no idea how bad things remain.

He was right.

In the Quarter, things were relatively back to normal. In Chalmette, the devastation was beyond comprehension. Every single house was destroyed inside. All the garbage from those that had been gutted stil lay in the streets. A shrimp boat was in someone's yard. You could see inside the front doors, and everything they owned was still there, jumbled up, covered in mud. Kids toys, trophies, and cars--cars everywhere in every possible position. I could go on and on. It was a "tour" I will never be able to forget. Just so profoundly sad...I don't know where I'd start, but I think something like a work corps, employing the local people in their communities. It would provide employment, training, and give everyone a stake in doing the job right, and maybe a chance of thwarting the politicians from squirreling away the largest cut of the money for themselves.
Posted By Anonymous shannon, louisville, ky : 12:19 PM ET
I agree with the senator's views on religion. You cannot, however, infuse voters with religion in order for them to vote for a party. Religion comes from within, not from a politician.
Posted By Anonymous Alec Porianda, Salisbury, MD : 11:51 AM ET
i've rested up from a recent 10 day stretch of clearing my yard and garage of debris. there are several other houses on my street, unattended since the storm, as well as automobiles, in gentilly. one neighbor was not happy with where my debris was placed by the clean up crew [they moved appliances on 'his' side of the street] for later removal by appropriate agency.and was pretty snotty about it. his attitude was mirrored by another neighbor, also unhappy. i guess they would rather see no progress, than what is necessary, to have happen for this situation to improve. needless to say, i want out. i want a fair price for my property, so i can clear off and get my life back on track.
i also have a house in bay saint louis. it's worse there. "someone" has decided to remove personal property, even the plywood sheets used to protect my home from the storm. the local police have not been of any benefit by way of previous theft reports, so i didn't even bother with informing them. if my neighbors are stealing from me, and/or not want to inform the authorities, then that's not the community i wish to live in.i'd like to also be compensated for this property and use it to relocate. that's what i'd like to see with all this money allocated to rebuilding the coast and new orleans. the fema/sba people tell me, "we want to get you back to where you were before the storm"....well...how 'bout it, then?

i am weary of having to yank myself and 2 kids from our house every couple of years, not knowing if there is anything to come back to...it's too taxing. we rode the last storm out, in the attic, i don't want to have to decide on that again.
Posted By Anonymous richard lo piccolo, bay saint louis, ms. : 10:05 AM ET
Government can only create more problems in disaster areas, not solve them. The private sector is much better and more effective at disaster relief than any government agency. Government just needs to get out of the way of the people that can actually do disaster relief.
Posted By Anonymous John, Middletown, IN : 10:23 AM ET
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