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Bush, Louisiana at Odds over Reconstruction Plan

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

NPR's Greg Allen reports.

GREG ALLEN: The Baker bill would set up a corporation that would help New Orleans and other communities move people out of badly damaged neighborhoods, and relocate them to areas that will be rebuilt. But this week, the plan ran into trouble. Donald Powell, the president's coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding, told Louisiana officials that the administration would not support the plan, because it would create a new federal bureaucracy.

DONALD POWELL: I think we would all be served better if the government did not get into the real estate business, and leave that to the private sector.

ALLEN: Andy Coplan heads the Louisiana Recovery Authority, the state body overseeing rebuilding across the state. He notes that, of that $11.5 million, Louisiana is receiving just over half.

ANDY COPLAN: And no one believes that Louisiana suffered only 54 percent of the damage.

ALLEN: White House Building Coordinator Don Powell says Louisiana can come back later for more funding requests, but, that like Mississippi, the state should first take care of the 20,000 people whose houses were destroyed, and who lived outside of the flood plane.

POWELL: I think the homeowner clearly is the person here that should be first in line; the homeowner whose home was outside the flood plane, and his home was destroyed, and did not have flood insurance.

ALLEN: Louisiana Recovery Authority board member Sean Reilly says many of those homeowners did not have flood insurance.

SEAN REILLY: Greg Allen, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As NPR's Miami correspondent, Greg Allen reports on the diverse issues and developments tied to the Southeast. He covers everything from breaking news to economic and political stories to arts and environmental stories. He moved into this role in 2006, after four years as NPR's Midwest correspondent.
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