"Phase One" For New Orleans

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (left) and other officials and leaders listen March 29, 2007, as Ed Blakely (at podium), the New Orleans official in charge of the city's post-Katrina recovery effort, outlines a $1.1 billion plan including loans and other incentives for developers. (AP Photo/Cheryl Gerber)
The leader of New Orleans' effort to recover from Hurricane Katrina unveiled a $1.1 billion plan Thursday aimed at jump-starting the sluggish revitalization work.

The plan focuses on 17 zones throughout the city, from busy Canal Street to the hard-hit Lower 9th Ward, city recovery director Ed Blakely said.

Mayor Ray Nagin called it part of "Phase One" of the city's recovery from Katrina, which devastated the city 19 months ago.

The money would be used to give developers loans and incentives for building in areas that the city has identified as key to its recovery. Blakely said the target areas are in line with citizen recommendations.

Blakely said he envisions "cranes in the sky" by September, but Nagin cautioned against holding the city to any timelines, saying the city has had difficulty seeing big projects through. The work will require City Council approval.

The proposal is expected to eventually be part of a citywide redevelopment plan. Billions of federal dollars have been earmarked for recovery from Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi, but it is unclear how much New Orleans will get.

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    Scott Conroy is a National Political Reporter for RealClearPolitics and a contributor for CBS News.