The left hand has not been talking to the right, and there have been assumptions made all around.
Yesterday, as all surely know by now, Mayor Nagin reversed position abruptly by stating he would allow residents of the unflooded areas to return home. That was released (near as I can determine) in the afternoon. Yet the Times-Picayune went to print yesterday stating that Algiers is open while the rest of the parish is closed. That page confounded me so completely, in fact, that I got up at 5:30 a.m. this morning, just to see whether the print version was pdf’ed and available that early. Yup – like most newspapers, they go to print very early in the morning.
So why did the paper say Algiers was open so many hours before Mayor Nagin’s “reversal”?
Odder still – yesterday, I had an email from someone who had copied/pasted an article that said, "The return, which the mayor hopes to launch early next week, would involve the French Quarter, Central Business District and Uptown, Nagin said. None of those areas were flooded. Algiers, which was also spared flooding damage, has been open since the storm and not subject to the mandatory evacuation that covers
the rest of the city."
That reader and I spent a great deal of time yesterday evening trying to relocate the article, but we found nothing stating Algiers had been open since the storm. Because that statement is not out there anymore, I hesitated to tell you about it – but it fits the larger picture so well.
This morning, NOLA.com has a more comprehensive article about the return. It appears that some mental separation is taking hold about Algiers, but there is still some vagueness. Among other things, it sounds like the Mayor is non-committal about a firm date. There are statements like “Unflooded portions of New Orleans may be opened to residents as early as Monday” and “pending results of federal tests measuring the toxicity of the city's air and water”. Does that mean if test results are not good Uptown, Algiers won’t be opened?
Another statement that is interesting is, “He plans to enforce a dusk-to-dawn curfew.” The statement itself is pretty clear… but it follows a sentence about restoration of services on the East Bank. Will that then be parish-wide? One assumes so – but there have been far too many assumptions.
And just to cap off my morning tour of available information, will residents from the West Bank of Orleans Parish be allowed to enter Gretna to buy supplies while businesses try to resume in Algiers? It seems as if this should be a “no-brainer”, yet another article this morning, by reporter Matt Scallon (again via NOLA.com), includes a statement from Aaron Broussard, who is quoted as saying, “Plaquemines Parish residents also will be allowed into the parish because Jefferson Parish is a major access route into the area.” Does Algiers need a separate statement, do you think?
(Update 9:33 am - I just posted an email from Rep. Tucker about Jeff. Parish roadblocks.)
Is it just my imagination, or are things still as clear as mud?