The City of New Orleans has withdrawn its request to FEMA for funds to move City Hall to the Chevron Building, according to a source in the New Orleans City Council. FEMA officials were scheduled to hold a meeting this Monday to begin reviewing the city’s plan, but it has been cancelled.

In a letter sent to the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness in Nov., Martin Altman, an administration official, requested the state approve the purchase as an “improved project” because the amount of work deemed eligible by FEMA for storm-damage repairs was not enough “to restore City Hall to its former functional status.” The state office has been serving as an intermediary between FEMA and local municipalities for disaster funds.

The city council had voted against Mayor Nagin’s proposed City Hall relocation in July of last year, and the FEMA request was seen by some council members as a way to make the move without council approval. As reported in a Gambit Scuttlebutt last month (“Ray Nagin’s Chevron Building Dream”), an ordinance had been introduced that would have required council consent on the $8.2 million purchase even if FEMA had approved the project.