Video: Reaction from N.O.

msnbc.com
updated 10/3/2005 10:27:02 AM ET 2005-10-03T14:27:02
TRANSCRIPT

In the wake of President Bush’s address to the nation on Thursday night from New Orleans, MSNBC’s David Shuster joined Tucker Carlson on ‘The Situation’ to discuss what the reaction was from The Crescent City.

To read an excerpt of their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the “Launch” button to the right.

TUCKER CARLSON: David, it looked from the picture like it was surreal.  I mean, there was nobody there.  Were there people watching on the ground when the president spoke?

DAVID SHUSTER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  No, Tucker, that part of the French Quarter was really quiet, and you could see some of the Secret Service and some of the police and whatnot.

But just to give you an indication of some of the precautions and some of the preparations for tonight, you can see behind the president, Jackson Square, very well lit up, lots of lighting and whatnot that was put on there.  Yesterday, we couldn‘t quite tell whether they were going to use generator power or not, and I still don‘t know the answer to that.

But we do know that before the president arrived tonight, all the lights, the traffic lights in this area, a lot of the lights in the buildings around this area went on, as if they were trying to activate the power grid.  Now, of course, you can see that they are all off. 

One might subscribe to the theory that perhaps they were putting the grid up to maybe help the president.  If you light the area that helps, of course, with the Secret Service and security precautions.  We don‘t know for sure, but we know that the timing was really interesting. 

But Tucker, one other point that this underscores, and that is they have the ability now to run power to the French Quarter, run power through areas of downtown.  And that‘s one of the reasons why the mayor of New Orleans, suggesting that the businesses should come back, that people who live in the French Quarter should be welcome to come back early next week, that we would like to see the redevelopment, the sort of rebirth of the French Quarter, if you will, as early as next week. 

CARLSON:  Now apparently, I keep reading that there are still some people living in the French Quarter.  If I were one of them, and I saw the power flicker on for a moment for the president‘s sake and then go off again, I‘d be pretty annoyed.  How many people were there, would you estimate?

SHUSTER:  Well, Tucker, to be honest, I wasn‘t there, and I couldn‘t get anywhere near it.  So I have no idea.  But I can tell you that there was a very sort of tight pool that was there.  There weren‘t a lot of people that were allowed to that part of the French Quarter by Jackson Square. 

As for the other people who are sort of at these bars and restaurants that have tried to stay open, many of them -- and here‘s like another good anecdote that may help you, Tucker.  There was an alarm that went off.  And one of my colleagues, Mark Mullen, was describing how all of a sudden at this liquor store, an alarm goes off.  And it was a sign that the power had suddenly come back on.  And for whatever reason, the trip wire had been triggered, and the alarm went off, and it was very startling to a lot of people.

Those are the sort of things that are now happening in the French Quarter, whether it‘s the power coming on, the lights coming on, the stoplights, or the alarms from some of these restaurants or bars that have been off for some time.  So it‘s a pretty weird environment now. 

CARLSON:  It sounds deeply weird.  Now when -- we‘re getting conflicting reports, as usual, about when city -- or parts of it are going to be open for business again?  What‘s the latest on that?

SHUSTER:  Well, it‘s a tough question tonight, because the big problem is when they want to open the hotels and some of the restaurants, the service employees, there‘s still not a place for them to live, if they‘re not going to live in the hotels. 

One of the neighborhoods that they talk about reopening is uptown by Tulane University, but that‘s the sort of housing that service employees might not be able to afford. 

And some of the more lower income housing areas that are sort of near downtown, they have tremendous damage.  Along Canal Street towards the lake, of course, they had five or six feet of water.  And those homes there simply you can‘t live in them just because of the decay and the mold. 

So there are questions that have to be resolved about where the people who are going to work down here, where are they going to live at night.  But having said that, the mayor at least wants some of the businesses starting this weekend to come back in and survey what damage was done, what can be replaced, what the general situation is.

And then the mayor is suggesting that as early as Monday, that he would then allow people to start moving back into the French Quarter, assuming that they can prove that they live in the French Quarter. 

The one caveat on all this, and that is, there are still some environmental tests that are out there.  So far, the environmental tests say that there‘s not a permanent level of toxicity in the residue, that the air quality is fine.  But there‘s still some other tests that could come back.  And those could throw a wrench into the mayor‘s plans. 

Watch 'The Situation with Tucker Carlson' each weeknight at 11 p.m. ET

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