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Slow Recovery Makes Holidays Less Than Happy in New Orleans

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December 18, 2006

New Orleans, LA - "Happy holidays" is a relative term for many children and families in New Orleans this year. Reconstruction continues at a snail's pace in the Gulf region. Malaak Compton-Rock, wife of comedian Chris Rock, recently toured New Orleans on a "Child Watch" visit with the Children's Defense Fund (CDF). While many families have been able to start new lives in places like New Mexico, she says they aren't the ones she worries about most.

"A lot of the families that actually left New Orleans have been able to put their lives back on track. I'm worried about those people who are still in New Orleans."

Amy Liu with the Brookings Institute has been tracking Katrina recovery. She says rebuilding homes is a key first step.

"The first thing that has to happen is a housing recovery. The economic recovery, the return of workers, everything is dependent upon the extent to which we can rebuild housing."

Liu says the area needs a solid plan for recovery and the financial assistance that was promised, but still not delivered after more than a year. CDF has been building support for a mobile medical van to serve New Orleans residents who are still cut off from hospital services.

Amy Liu's latest Katrina recovery report can be viewed online, at www.brookings.edu. You can help by calling the Children's Defense Fund at 1-800-233-1200.

Eric Mack/David Law, Public News Service - NM