National Urban League's New Orleans Rebuild Project

The President of the Houston Area Urban League says rebuilding New Orleans from the ruin caused by Hurricane Katrina is now one of the major projects of the National Urban League, which wrapped up its annual National Conference over the weekend in Atlanta. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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Sylvia Brooks says rebuilding New Orleans is just half the equation. Making it possible for Katrina evacuees to return and be part of the rebuilding is the other half. Brooks says those who want to return have some big obstacles to overcome, not the least of which is the fact that much of New Orleans is still unliveable.

"Part of that has to do with housing, another part has to do with employment opportunities, but the biggest part has to with housing and the infrastructure issues in New Orleans."

Evacuee children are a big factor keeping many families from going back to New Orleans. Many children are now enrolled in schools outside New Orleans, such as Houston, and Brooks says their parents don't want to uproot them again and are staying put for the time being. She says she understands their feelings, but hopes they won't forget their home city.

"Rebuilding is going to be a long process, and I think people need to go back and see what are going to be the issues for them to get their houses in order, or get new houses built, or finding a place to stay while they're having the houses built. I think that's why people have decided that they are going to stay here."

More than anything else, Brooks says it's going to take a lot of patience and time to rebuild New Orleans, and the Urban League is going to do everything it can to help. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.