USA: New Orleans still struggling to get power after Katrina
Bawdy Bourbon Street is pulsing again with strippers, neon lights and live local music. But large residential neighborhoods not found in French Quarter tour guides still lack power, street lights, traffic signals and public transportation.
Since Katrina hit August 29, the city's population has plunged from 462,000 to an estimated 100,000, leaving some neighborhoods resembling ghost towns.
In an effort to re-energize the repopulation effort, municipal officials and the city's chief utility announced a plan Wednesday to accelerate the restoration of power citywide.
Entergy Inc. will assign an extra 125 electrical workers and 150 gas workers to "jumpstart" ongoing efforts to restore power to most of the city before the end of the year, beginning November 28, said city council member Cynthia Willard.
Mayor Ray Nagin, anxious to speed up the repopulation of the city, has said the latest efforts will restore power to most neighborhoods in two postal codes with a combined pre-Katrina population of 73,000 people.
Nagin said the effort will increase the city's ability to house 225,000 people.
According to a report issued by the mayor Wednesday, only 64 percent of the city had electricity as of November 11, while in some neighborhoods only eight to 12 percent of homes had been reconnected to gas service.
str/mso/vs AFP 170152 GMT 11 05
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Received by NewsEdge Insight: 11/16/2005 20:53:36
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