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Thursday, September 29, 2005 

Big Easy Getting Big and Greedy (Big Bucks? Bring Out The Hounds)

(AP) A month after Hurricane Katrina roared in, political leaders are taking their first steps toward rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region, but they are heading off in different — and possibly conflicting — directions.

I read this as: With potentially $250 BILLION on the table, everyone wants to be holding the purse strings.

Mayor Ray Nagin has appointed 18 local leaders — racially balanced, with Hispanic and Vietnamese representation — to a new Commission for the Future of New Orleans, said prominent developer Joseph Canizaro, who is on the commission.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco is rumored to be exploring her own panel on rebuilding, several business leaders said. Her administration is gathering input from officials in the state and beyond, but no group has been formed yet, said Michael Olivier, the state's economic development director.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal, a Republican who represents New Orleans suburbs, suggested a public-private redevelopment authority that can integrate federal support with local needs.

There is a host of others of course too. With the government cash cow stepping in, and no-bid contracts being handed out… everyone is looking to score.