Search for Katrina Victims Ends; Children Return to School
The death toll of 972 is expected to rise. “There still might be bodies found — for instance, if a house was locked and nobody able to go into it,” Bob Johannessen, a spokesman with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, told the Associated Press.
Mississippi’s death toll remained at 221.
In the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, St. Andrew the Apostle Elementary School became the first Roman Catholic school to reopen, five weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.
“My heart is just bursting,” teacher Jewell McCarthy told the AP as she fought back tears and welcomed students. “I just want to give them a hug.”
Archdiocese officials said their schools in surrounding areas also were reopening. Some public schools in nearby parishes opened, but public schools in New Orleans remained closed and may not resume until November, reported the AP.
As recovery efforts continue in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast, President Bush remarked in his Tuesday morning White House press conference that he would work with Congress “to make real cuts” in non-security spending to help rebuilding. “The private sector will be the engine that drives that recovery of the Gulf Coast,” he said.
Also on Tuesday, former President Clinton was set to travel to Louisiana and meet with hurricane survivors at a Baton Rouge shelter. He plans to receive a briefing from relief officials and tour New Orleans’ largely destroyed Ninth Ward.
That area, which was perhaps the most damaged of any in New Orleans, is still water-logged as the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers works to pump out water and rebuild levees that led to the flooding of the city.
However, two canals near the Ninth Ward were closed Monday as a precaution because of strong winds and higher tides, an Army Corp of Engineers spokesman told the AP. And on Monday afternoon, water steadily leaked through the repaired levees.
As of late Monday afternoon, electricity had been restored to about 36 percent of New Orleans customers and to about 98 percent of the customers in neighboring Jefferson parish, according to Entergy Corp.