City To Secure Municipal Auditorium

The city of New Orleans today begins taking steps to secure the Katrina-damaged Municipal Auditorium at Armstrong Park as it prepares to go to arbitration with FEMA over the cost of repairs to the building.

The structure, which has been holding MRE's and bottled water, has been overrun by trespassers.

Crews will reinforce all doors, windows and HVAC units with steel panels. The work will last through the end of April. Once complete, a 24-hour security detail will be stationed at the building.

Workers will remediate environmental hazards in the building, stabilize the building shell, clear the building of all debris, and take steps to prevent future damage.

FEMA has offered $41.7 million to refurbish the building but the city contends $80 million or more is needed for the project.

On March 21, the city filed a brief with FEMA to officially request arbitration in order to resolve this dispute. The city and FEMA will participate in a hearing before an arbitration panel, who will make the final decision on the funding of repairs.

Once the arbitration process is completed, the city says it will conduct a market analysis to determine a use for the facility and develop a plan to return it to commerce

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