The Ritz-Carlton Hotel
in New Orleans has been named one of the 65 best new luxury hotels in the world by Conde Nast Traveler UK in its May edition, which features the "2007 Hot List." The hotel, which opened in the historic Maison Blanche Building in 2000, recently reopened after Katrina with an upgraded spa and "stellar staff," according to the magazine. Only eight U.S. hotels made the list, and the local Ritz-Carlton was the only member of the chain's 64 properties worldwide selected for the honor this year.
executive director of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, has been named "2007 Humanist of the Year" by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. The LEH annually honors Louisianians who have made outstanding contributions to the study and understanding of the humanities. The organization cites Gruber's "extraordinary leadership in the general confusion and dysfunction of our post-Katrina world." The Ogden reopened in October 2005 Ñ less than two months after the storm.
Mayor Ray Nagin
once again showed his trademark callousness and insouciance by trashing the city of Philadelphia Ñ after the City of Brotherly Love hosted him and a delegation at an environmental conference. Upon his return to New Orleans, hizzoner told a local audience, "You ought to go to Philly and you will appreciate how clean New Orleans is." In typical fashion, Nagin shrugged off the insult as no big deal, although he did issue his standard half-hearted apology to the people of Philadelphia.
ignored the advice of its own experts in awarding Mississippi 72.5 percent of funds for alternative housing in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. FEMA's decision was disclosed in a December 2006 internal memo that came to light last week during hearings by a U.S. Senate subcommittee. Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, who chaired the hearings, has long criticized the FEMA funding decision. One official from the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that the decision reduced funds to Katrina's hardest-hit areas.