"MS. STEWART HAS A LOT TO ANSWER FOR," SAYS BIG EASY MAYOR; CITY GOES TO "PLAN B" -- VENICE THEME WITH SINGING GONDOLIERS
NEW ORLEANS - For as long as anyone can remember, the thing New Orleans dreaded most was the possibility that its famous levees would break, spilling deadly floodwaters into this city of half a million people that sits below sea level.
That very thing occurred yesterday, one day after New Orleans thought it had escaped catastrophic damage from Hurricane Katrina, causing floodwaters to cover 80% of the city, in some places 20 feet deep. The levees burst within seconds after domestic TV diva and convicted felon Martha Stewart removed the electronic monitoring bracelet that insured her confinement to her 153 acre Westchester County, New York estate.
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin insists there was a connection. "I don't know the exact science involved, but Ms. Stewart has a lot to answer for," he said.
The Mayor also said that the Big Easy must look ahead now, and announced what he called "Plan B." At an outdoor press conference near the levee that burst packed with reporters from around the world, Nagin unveiled an artist's rendering of his vision for the new New Orleans, a plan that would turn the flooded city into "a kind of Creole Venice" replete with singing gondoliers and a miniature Piazza San Marco.
"It's quite a coincidence, but I was just saying the other day that the only thing New Orleans has lacked all these years was torrents of flood waters cascading through our streets," the Mayor said. "Well, mirabile dictu, now Venice has nothing that New Orleans doesn't have." The Mayor explained that the city will immediately proceed to "turn the decadent French Quarter into a decadent Italian Quarter. The only difference between New Orleans and Venice will be that our gondoliers will bathe on a regular basis."
The Mayor added that "we should have breached the levees years ago," as he stretched out his body atop a section of the failed floodwall to prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from dropping bags of sand and stones to fill the gap created by the breach.
The Mayor also revealed that he turned down a request from New Orleans icon and rock 'n roll legend Fats Domino to act as a human plug at the site of the breach.
The Mayor ended the press conference by issuing the following proclamation: "I will close the city for three months to carry out the conversion [to Venice], and when we reopen, rest assured New Orleans will maintain its distinctive identity. Most important, during the holy celebration of Mardi Gras, New Orleans will still welcome and embrace those fetching, inebriated college lasses who will still lift their tops to thrill and delight oversexed and inebriated college lads in exchange for worthless beads. Only from now on, they shall perform this sublime act from spanking new gondolas. And so, with one voice, New Orleans will once more say to the world, 'let the good times roll!'"