5) Nagin Quarantined in China
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, his wife and a member of his entourage were held in quarantine in China for three days after a passenger on the same airline flight they had traveled aboard came down with possible swine flue symptoms. Chinese health authorities ordered Nagin and his travel companions confined to their Shanghai hotel rooms during what City Hall said was supposed to be an economic development trip to meet with business interests in that country. Cleared for travel, Nagin later continued to Australia, where he spoke on the topic of "sustainable globalization" at a conference at the University of Sydney, the same institution that employs former New Orleans recovery director Ed Blakely.
4) Trial Begins for Ex-Congressman Jefferson
The long-awaited trial of former New Orleans congressman William Jefferson began in a federal court in Alexandria, Va. A jury of eight women and four men was selected last week, and the trial is expected to continue this week with opening statements beginning on Tuesday. Jefferson was indicted two years ago on 16 counts of bribery, racketeering, conspiracy and other charges by the government, which accuses him of seeking payments in exchange for his help securing business deals in Africa. FBI agents found $90,000 in marked bills in a freezer in Jefferson’s Washington, D.C. apartment.
3) City Hall Buying Chevron Building
The city of New Orleans intends to buy the Chevron building in the Central Business District for use as a new City Hall. Mayor Nagin surprised many last month when he said during a state of the city address that his administration would buy the 21-story office building from the oil company. After a back-and-forth of letters of intent, the two sides last week said they were in the process of working out a formal purchase agreement.
2) Catholic Church Introduces New Archbishop
The Archdiocese of New Orleans announced that Bishop Gregory Aymond would replace Archbishop Alfred Hughes as head of the local Catholic church later this summer. Aymond is a native of New Orleans and currently serves as bishop of Austin, Texas. He will lead an archdiocese composed of about 380,000 Catholics in 108 parishes and will oversee the ongoing recovery of the archdiocese from Hurricane Katrina, which inflicted some $300 million in damages and caused great upheaval in parish demographics. The Archdiocese of New Orleans plans to officially install Aymond in the office in late August.
1) Feds Allocate $620 Million for 2008 Hurricanes
The Louisiana Recovery Authority announced that the federal government has allotted $620 million to the state in hurricane recovery assistance for damages from hurricanes Gustav and Ike last year. This latest round of funding follows $438 million allocated to Louisiana for the disasters last year. The money will be administered as Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. The state plans to distribute the funding between agriculture concerns, fisheries, coastal restoration efforts, subsidized housing and parish-level allocations for housing, infrastructure and economic development programs. For details, go to www.lra.louisiana.gov.
Ian McNulty is a freelance writer in New Orleans and contributing writer for New Orleans Magazine. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.