NEW ORLEANS – Former President Bill Clinton urged patience Friday in rebuilding New Orleans as he announced more than $7.5 million in grants to aid reconstruction efforts here and along the Gulf Coast.
A portion of the funds is earmarked for the creation of a plan to rebuild this city. More than a year after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans still remains in a partial recovery mode and Mayor Ray Nagin has taken criticism for the lack of a comprehensive citywide rebuilding plan.
Speaking to an audience at Delgado Community College, Clinton referred to his own experience with helping with recovery efforts in Asia following the tsunami in December 2004.
"I know how maddening this is," Clinton said.
But he said there needs to be a rebuilding plan that is sound and makes sense. "We can't quit," Clinton said as Nagin nodded in the background.
The money comes from the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, which is designed to assist a variety of needs from education to housing to quality of line. As of Aug. 31, $76 million had been awarded in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
One of the areas benefiting this round is a program dubbed "Music Rising," an effort to replace school and church musical instruments.
Separately, Clinton announced that New Orleans will be part of the "Clinton Climate Initiative" to address global warming.