NEW ORLEANS -- Mayor C. Ray Nagin suspended the construction of FEMA trailer parks in the city after a confrontation between federal workers and homeowners who were outraged that a government trailer park was being built inside their gated community.
With an election three weeks away, Nagin sided with the residents of Lakewood Estates, a community of spacious homes in the city's Algiers section, and suspended the nearly completed trailer project there and similar projects elsewhere in New Orleans.
The Lakewood Estates trailer park was meant to house 34 single women and their children -- people left homeless by Hurricane Katrina -- but residents of the gated community contended that it was too close to their homes. The neighborhood association sued the Federal Emergency Management Agency seeking a permanent injunction against the project.
FEMA officials said they were surprised by Nagin's decision, especially because he had approved the Algiers trailer site months earlier, Darryl Madden, FEMA spokesman, told The New York Times.
All the necessary building permits had been obtained, Madden said.
The city may have to reimburse the federal government $1.6 million if FEMA is not allowed to finish building the trailer site, Madden said Tuesday.