Urban Planner Cites Hope, Anxiety In New Orleans

New Orleans recovery chief Ed Blakely i i

hide captionNew Orleans recovery chief Ed Blakely outside the Mahalia Jackson Theatre of the Performing Arts in New Orleans. The theater closed down after taking on water during Hurricane Katrina, but is slated to reopen in January 2009.

Graham Smith/NPR
New Orleans recovery chief Ed Blakely

New Orleans recovery chief Ed Blakely outside the Mahalia Jackson Theatre of the Performing Arts in New Orleans. The theater closed down after taking on water during Hurricane Katrina, but is slated to reopen in January 2009.

Graham Smith/NPR

Urban planning miracle worker Ed Blakely was brought in by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to manage recovery after hurricane Katrina.

Blakely previously worked in Oakland, Calif., San Francisco and Kobe, Japan, after fires and earthquakes.

Much criticized in New Orleans for over-promising, he says people have a right to be anxious, but notes funding has been a problem and that there are bright days ahead.

Correction Aug. 29, 2008

The story said, "The [Mahalia Jackson] Theatre is scheduled to reopen by January. Placido Domingo will sing." The featured artist on opening night is Itzhak Perlman; Placido Domingo will perform a week later.

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