New Orleans Mayor Says City Too Broke To Pay For Mandated Prison Reform, Still Has $50 Million in FEMA Money

FEMA money specifically allocated to rebuild prisons


Although Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration has been arguing that the city is too broke to pay for court-ordered reforms at Orleans Parish Prison, a federal official testified on Tuesday that the city has about $50 million available to rebuild jail buildings destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

That money could not be used to pay any of the operational costs of running the beleaguered jail, the subject of a federal consent decree intended to bring it up to constitutional standards. The city could, however, use the money to address the decree's requirement for upgraded mental-health and medical facilities. In fact, Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin said that the city is now mulling that option.