New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin criticized efforts to redevelop the World Trade Center site when confronted in a television interview about delays in rebuilding his city after Hurricane Katrina.
During the “60 minutes” interview, a correspondent pointed out flood-damaged cars still on the streets of New Orleans’ devastated Ninth Ward. Nagin replied, “You guys in New York can’t get a hole in the ground fixed, and it’s five years later. So let’s be fair,” according to CBS.
The program is scheduled to air Sunday night. Text and a video clip from the Nagin piece were posted on CBS’ Web site Thursday.
The chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the agency created to oversee the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site and downtown Manhattan, said that tremendous progress has been made in lower Manhattan, with the Freedom Tower, a transportation hub and a memorial to the nearly 3,000 attack victims under construction.
“We understand how difficult rebuilding a city after such destruction can be,” chairman Kevin Rampe said in a statement.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office also defended the progress the city had made since the World Trade Center was destroyed.
“Five years after the attacks of Sept. 11, Lower Manhattan is thriving like never before. Record numbers of people live downtown and new cultural attractions are making the area a vibrant, 24-hour-a-day community,” said Stu Loeser, Bloomberg's press secretary.
“We wish the same bright future for New Orleans, and continue to stand ready to provide any help we can, just as we did in the immediate aftermath of Katrina,’ Loeser said.
Nagin, known for his blunt style, is not the first to compare the two cities. New Orleans residents frequently complain that the federal government’s response after Katrina has been far more sluggish than it was after the Sept. 11 attacks.