Katrina's Odd Couple

The nature of the relationship between New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin and federal recovery chief Adm. Thad Allen

The men charged with rebuilding New Orleans — Mayor Ray Nagin and President Bush's Katrina recovery chief, Coast Guard Vice Admiral Thad Allen — are an unlikely pair. Nagin is a tall, debonair ex-corporate bigwig who shoots from the hip; the stocky Allen prefers organizational charts to oratory. The two clashed last week when Nagin called on some 180,000 evacuees to return to dried-out districts--a move Allen publicly labeled "extremely problematic." Nagin fired back that Allen was trying to be "the new crowned federal mayor of New Orleans."

But both men tell TIME they are trying to find ways to complement,...

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