Indeed, throughout his comments, Blakely embraced his new role as New Orleans' recovery chief, one of only seven top City Hall aides who report directly to Nagin. He said he "recruited myself" to New Orleans' recovery effort, believing his experience rebuilding cities around the world made him particularly well-suited to the task and saying his expertise has been acknowledged across south Louisiana.Yes, the only authority… except for those pesky residents.
"FEMA has recognized me as the only authority for setting priorities for the parish of Orleans," he said.
UPDATE: The Advocate story on his speech was more people-friendly than the T-P article:
"We’re going to rebuild the entire city. We’re not shrinking any footprints. We’re bringing every neighborhood back," he said.Sometimes I wish the media would just print the transcripts of speeches, press conferences, and interviews.
"We’re going to build entire neighborhoods all at once." Whole neighborhoods will be elevated rather than “one house at a time," he added.
"I want to see jobs as close to people as possible," he said.
"I don’t want to see that same Wal-Mart look here," he said.
"We have to build smart, we have to build well, and we have to use the right materials," he said.
"The Police Department is not going to arrest itself out of this," he said, saying more job opportunities is one answer.
"We have to create employment opportunities all over town. You wouldn’t have time to commit murders if you’re working," he said.
He also said the city needs a training program to prepare workers for the massive rebuilding that lies ahead.