Rebuilding New Orleans Teleconference

Hurricane Katrina evacuees from New Orleans who still live in the Houston area are invited to another inter-city tele-conference, with officials who're back home working to rebuild their city. They say they're close to turning all the talk and planning into action, as Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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This will be the third and final New Orleans Community Congress, and spokesman Joe Butler says it's to give New Orleanians in exile in Houston and several other cities a chance to comment on all the recovery projects that were presented in the first two meetings last year. Butler says the projects run the gamut.

"Flooding, and safety in that category, rebuilding stable neighborhoods in terms of making sure that we don't just have pockets of housing in one place or another, but instead making sure that we create the kind of communities that lead to healthy cities."

Butler says the goal is to rebuild New Orleans and do it right so it can once again be the garden spot of the south it was before Katrina. They also want to persuade New Orleanians still living outside Louisiana to come home and be part of it.

"We want to get our people back and we want to give them options, and we know that some of the folks there have some economic hurdles and roadblocks to get through, so we gotta make sure we have affordable housing for them and make it feasible for them to get back."

The New Orleans Community Congress will be from 10am till 4pm tomorrow at the George R. Brown Convention Center. It'll be a teleconference, linked via the Internet to simultaneous meetings in Dallas, Atlanta and New Orleans. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.

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