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As We Could Be Famous reported earlier this evening:

HUD, the FBI, and New Orleans' inspector general have all opened up investigations into NOAH.

WWLTV will report this later.

And indeed the station did, in yet another excellent report by Lee Zurik. It was 7-8 minutes long, and WWL just has the prècis on its website at the moment (the video will probably be up soon), but these are the high points:

Eyewitness News has learned that New Orleans Inspector General Robert Cerasoli, HUD and the FBI have launched investigations into the city’s non-profit agency – New Orleans Affordable Home Ownership – and the home remediation program that ran from December 2006 to July 2007.

In addition, Mayor Ray Nagin has asked the city’s Office of Recovery to look into the matter, according to Ceeon Quiett, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office.

The investigations follow a series of reports by Eyewitness News that raised questions about the program.

What a difference a week makes in City Hall:

“How is that report helping this recovery?” Nagin asked at a July 22 press conference. “It is not, and it's hurting this city, and you need to stop it.”

From "stop it" to "we're looking into it" in one week.

It's fair to say that Zurik is owning this story in the mainstream media right now, but he's sharing custody with some dogged New Orleans bloggers who have been providing excellent digging and reportage, two of the most prominent being We Could Be Famous and Karen Gadbois of Squandered Heritage, who smelled a story first...and cared enough about their city's recovery to do something about it.

With these people on it -- and others -- I don't think the story is over yet. Not by a long shot.


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