Evacuees Waiting for Schools to Open

Of the many issues that Katrina evacuees are dealing with, one is education for their children back in New Orleans. Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports.

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Father Vien Nguyen had about 6,000 parishners at Mary Queen of Vietnam church in New Orleans East. He says about 1,000 have returned while another thousand make weekend trips to New Orleans to try to piece their lives back together.

"A lot of our people have not returned yet because their children are going to school elsewhere."

New Orleans had more than 100 schools pre-Katrina and Louisiana Education Department Spokesperson Meg Casper says 20 schools have re-opened. Several more are expected to open in the near future. She says 9,500 students are back in New Orleans schools. Casper says they are trying to get a handle on how many students might be back for the fall. The education department has set up a website to try to collect this information.

"Tell us when you are coming back, tell us how many kids you are going to bring with you, tells us what grade levels those kids are in and tell us how to contact you that way hopefully we'll be able to get a better feel for how many are returning and when they are going to plan on returning so that we can have enough schools, enough classrooms, enough teachers available for those students."

A link can be found at KUHF-dot-org. Casper says the hot line number to find out what schools are open is 1-877-453-2721. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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