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Monday, September 19, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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New Orleans' mayor suspends reopening of city

The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — Under pressure from President Bush and other top federal officials, the mayor today suspended the reopening of large portions of the city over the next few days because of the threat of a new round of flooding from a tropical storm.

"I am concerned about this hurricane getting in the gulf. ... If we are off, I'd rather err on the side of conservatism to make sure we have everyone out," Mayor Ray Nagin said.

The announcement came after repeated warnings from top federal officials — and the president himself — that the city was unsafe.

The mayor said his original plan was never intended to put people at risk.

"Now we have conditions that have changed. We have another hurricane that is approaching us," he said. He warned that the city's pumping system was not running at full capacity and that its levee system is still in a "very weak position."

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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