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Who Will Foot Bill to Rebuild New Orleans?


As the president stood before television lights, the St. Louis Cathedral clock was visible just over his shoulder. The clock was stopped around half past 6, roughly the time the power went out in New Orleans on August 29th. That moment changed the lives of the region's evacuees who tuned in to last night's speech. Here are some of their voices. Their names in a moment.

Ms. DENISE BROWN (Resident, Lakeview, Louisiana): I'm not sure that he really understands what it's going to take to rebuild. It's not just money. And my big concern is that the money won't get where it needs to go.

Ms. MELANIE NOBLE (Resident, New Orleans): I'm not really convinced. Knowing that I was actually there when, you know, hurricane came in. Just no sense of urgency. I'm just not convinced about what he was saying. I actually have to see it to believe it.

Ms. GEORGINA CRUIS(ph) (Resident, Long Beach, Mississippi): You hear so many things that are going on and you know that help is on the way. And, yes, you're safe, but where can I get that job that, you know, the president's talking about right now?

(Soundbite of presidential address)

President GEORGE W. BUSH: In this place there's a custom for the funerals of jazz musicians.

Mr. CLIFTON DRUMMER(ph): New Orleans' second line(ph)--go hand in hand.

(Soundbite of presidential address)

Pres. BUSH: Tonight, the Gulf Coast is still coming through the dirge, yet we will live to see the second line.

Unidentified Man: It was his way of saying that we may be in a mourning state now but once everything is laid to rest and they rebuild that we'll be happy and we'll be second lining again. But I don't think second line is on any evacuee's mind. They're too busy worrying about their lost ones and what they lost, you know what I'm saying. And the hurt that nobody was there for them in time of need.

MONTAGNE: Clifton Drummer lost his home in New Orleans. He's now living in Phoenix, Arizona. We heard first from Denise Brown of Lakeview, Louisiana, speaking from Baton Rouge. Then, Melanie Noble of New Orleans, who's now staying in Chicago. And Georgina Cruis of Long Beach, Mississippi, has been in a Gulfport shelter since the storm hit. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.