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New Orleans' architecture emerges unscathed

The two most architecturally significant areas of hurricane-stricken New Orleans are set to reopen within a fortnight.

In the next few days residents will be allowed back in to the Garden District and the French Quarter of the city.

The city's mayor, C Ray Nagin, has revealed plans to allow 180,000 residents to return to the two areas, which lie above the lowlands worst affected by the floods.

This uptown section, which includes the Garden District's leafy streets and antebellum mansions, will reopen in stages next Wednesday and Friday, while the French Quarter will follow on 26 September.

Hurricane Katrina did not leave the Quarter entirely untouched, however. Magnolia trees were uprooted, awnings were shredded and looters broke into some stores.

Residents who witnessed the aftermath of the storm commented that the old city centre often looks worse after Mardi Gras.

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