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World News: New Orleans bars clean up, get ready for customers Black Habits Articles Bars and clubs in the famed 'french quarter' of New Orleans cleaned up Friday to get ready for business. It was the first step in what will be a long and costly effort to rebuild a city that has still not picked up all its dead. "We have a statement to make. Maybe we were down, but we're not out," said Julio Menjivar, the general manager of three clubs on Bourbon Street.

He hoped to have a skeleton crew in place by Monday with electricity back on within a week. After that, all the area needs is the return of its tourists, the lifeblood of New Orleans' economy. "People really come to kick back a little. They come here to let loose." Menjivar said: "Bourbon Street will bounce back." Ruined neighborhoods were still under water and many evacuees scattered in temporary shelters around the country continued searching for family members, but some areas that escaped the worst damage are showing signs of life. Generator trucks ran power into some buildings and cleanup crews swept the streets of stinking garbage that has piled up in the 18 days since Katrina battered much of the Gulf Coast. Mayor Ray Nagin said about 182,000 residents, or 40 percent of the city's population, will be allowed back over the next 10 days. Bush promises aid After pledging to bankroll New Orleans' recovery in his televised speech on Thursday night, President Bush said Friday the plan should improve the lives of poor black communities hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina. At a solemn service, part of a national day of prayer and remembrance for Katrina's victims, the President said: "As we clear away the debris of a hurricane, let us also clear away the legacy of inequality." Bush promised Thursday night that his government will provide huge support in rebuilding the home of jazz and other towns and cities ravaged by Katrina. Bush said: "There is no way to imagine America without New Orleans, and this great city will rise again." U.S. consumer confidence sank to a 13-year low in early September, battered by Katrina and record gas prices, a closely watched University of Michigan report showed on Friday. Some economists said the steep fall in confidence was a temporary reaction to the shock of Katrina, but others said it could reflect a loss of confidence in the government following the botched rescue efforts in the first days after the storm. More than two weeks later, many across the disaster zone are still incensed by the slow response first when Katrina struck and now as they try to rebuild. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, has received sharp criticism. "We have had no help from them for our citizens. ... It is criminal," said Ben Morris, mayor of the devastated town of Slidell outside New Orleans, where at least 10,000 people lost their homes and have nowhere to live. The official death toll has climbed to almost 800, with about 70 percent of them in Louisiana. Decaying corpses can still be seen on New Orleans' streets and the death toll is expected to rise as flood waters recede. But there are signs of recovery. In Jefferson Parish, all 500,000 residents will be allowed back to their homes by Wednesday. Army engineers continued pumping out the water that poured in from Lake Pontchartrain when New Orleans' levees broke during the hurricane. Electricity will be restored to about 20 percent of the New Orleans area within two weeks. Katrina book announced The city editor of the New Orleans Times-Picayune is writing a book about Hurricane Katrina. It will be published by the Random House Publishing Group. According to Random House, Jed Horne's untitled book will be "an insider's narrative account of the Hurricane Katrina disaster that will locate its roots in the culture and politics of the city of New Orleans and in the national politics of oil, homeland security, poverty and race relations." No publication date has been set for the new book.

Note: Last Updated Fri, 16 Sep 2005 15:18:01 EDT CBC News
Posted on Monday, September 19 @ 04:34:43 UTC by bspringer

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