Dossier: The New New Orleans

New Orleans' population before Hurricane Katrina was 462,269 … Today, 138,026 households, or two-thirds of the 2000 census population, are still forwarding their mail to new addresses … The city's budget for 2004 was roughly $16.8 billion … It operated a deficit that year of approximately $600 million … According to the 2004 Current Population Survey, the average per capita income in New Orleans was $4,309 less than the U.S. average of $24,020 … The total city workforce in 2004 was 213,323 … In October, Mayor Ray Nagin laid off 3,000 city workers, nearly half of New Orleans' public employees … Last month, New Orleans suffered an unemployment rate of 14.8 percent … Before the hurricane struck, 23.2 percent of New Orleanians were living below the poverty level, compared with 13.1 percent nationwide … The rebuilding of the city is estimated to cost $200 billion … So far, the federal government has allocated $62.5 billion in disaster relief … The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded $2.3 billion in contracts for Katrina recovery efforts … No-bid contracts and limited-competition agreements make up 15 percent of the total … The Shaw Group of Baton Rouge received a $100 million contract to pump floodwaters out of New Orleans ... Former head of FEMA and George W. Bush's chief of staff in Austin, Joe Allbaugh, is now a lobbyist for Shaw … Private security firm Blackwater USA obtained a $400,000 contract to guard FEMA construction sites … Blackwater employees have been authorized by state officials to carry loaded weapons on city streets … In a bidding process that usually takes 30 days, Boh Brothers Construction won a contract to rebuild the Interstate 10 Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in four hours … Purchase limits on government-issued credit cards given to federal employees were raised from $2,500 to $250,000 to help pay for hurricane-related expenses … About 250,000 federal employees have the credit cards, which in previous audits were found to have been used to pay for prostitution, gambling, and breast implants … 29 conventions slated to be held in New Orleans next year have been canceled … Three-quarters of the city's restaurants remain closed, and $1.5 million in tourist revenue has been lost each day since the levees failed … Private donations related to Katrina total more than $2.2 billion … Most of the Red Cross' $807.8 million share of that figure will go toward short-term aid … An estimated 20 percent of affected Louisiana residents are in need of psychiatric care.

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