Consultants at first questioned “urgent” tag of new hospital

Consultants who helped former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin secure $75 million in federal Katrina recovery grants for the construction of a new Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Lower Mid-City initially questioned the legality of using federal disaster recovery grants for a project that would not be complete until seven to 10 years after the storm, newly obtained e-mails between project planners show. The e-mail dialogue (pdf) spans the month leading up to the March 2009 approval of the largest single-project appropriation of Katrina recovery dollars to date.