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Pioneers Hope to Revitalize New Orleans

Doctors, business owners and other young professionals have moved into New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina, attracted by the concept of starting anew. NewsHour correspondent Tom Bearden presents the final report in a series on Katrina's two-year anniversary.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And finally tonight, the last of our reports this week on life in New Orleans two years after Katrina. Tonight, NewsHour correspondent Tom Bearden looks at some of the city's newest residents.

  • DR. LAUREN RICHEY, New Orleans House-Hunter:

    Yes, the yard is pretty small.

  • TOM BEARDEN, NewsHour Correspondent:

    Lauren Richey and Michael Kovacs are house-hunting in New Orleans. They just moved here from Philadelphia.

  • DR. LAUREN RICHEY:

    It is big, though.

  • MICHAEL KOVACS, New Orleans House-Hunter:

    Yes, it is big.

  • TOM BEARDEN:

    Neither has any previous ties to the city, but Richie, who graduated from medical school last spring, says New Orleans called to her.

  • DR. LAUREN RICHEY:

    It just really felt like the best fit for me. There were a lot of people who didn't have insurance and a lot of people who needed care, and I just felt like this is where I wanted to be.

  • TOM BEARDEN:

    Where you could do the most good?

  • DR. LAUREN RICHEY:

    Yes, where I could do the most good.

  • TOM BEARDEN:

    It wasn't a decision that her father understood.

  • DR. LAUREN RICHEY:

    He thought I was crazy. He said, "Who would graduate from medical school and move there?" And I was like, "Dad, you're missing what I want to do."

  • MICHAEL KOVACS:

    Everybody we told we were coming down here, their initial reaction was, "Why? You could go lots of other places; you could be in a lot safer areas."

  • TOM BEARDEN:

    Richey and Kovacs are part of a small but growing number of people who some are calling pioneers, people moving to New Orleans to be part of its rebirth.

    Richard Sutton moved back to the U.S. from England to open a gourmet cheese shop in the uptown neighborhood. He sees an economic opportunity.

  • RICHARD SUTTON, New Orleans Business Owner:

    One of the things that I never get tired of is trying to say that there are some good things going here, and there are other people like me that are here trying to start something new. And New Orleans is a very difficult town, I think, for people that were affected by the storm. But for people that are able to look at the city maybe with a clean slate, I think there are opportunities for people to make a home here.

  • TEACHER:

    All right, so just take another minute or two and complete what you're doing.