Thursday, June 15, 2006

Boom town, N.O..

Reuters AlertNet - New Orleans seen a boom town as storm aid arrives
NEW ORLEANS, June 15 (Reuters) - The devastation of New Orleans has made the city a modern American tragedy to many, but billions of aid dollars about to flow may transform the city known as the "Big Easy" into a boom town.

Twisted houses, warped cars and boats closer to highways than water still define the Louisiana landscape more than nine months after Hurricane Katrina devastated much of the state, destroying 200,000 homes and killing more than 1,500.

But Congress has approved more than $10 billion aimed primarily at rebuilding housing in Louisiana, and state officials expect checks to start flowing to homeowners later this summer.

That is addition to billions more from insurers to homeowners and other funds for rebuilding levees.

"This city is getting ready to take off," said Ray Nagin, mayor of the city called the "Big Easy" for its slow way of life. "I think it is going to be the Big Easy on steroids."

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