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Young Professionals Devoted to Rebuilding New Orleans to its Former Glory

E-mail Maggie Lineback

A few years back, the big acronym was "DINK," for "double income, no kids." In New Orleans, it's “YURP, “ for "Young Urban Recovery Professionals." It's a small but growing trend in the population here in New Orleans — young professionals who have moved to the city after Katrina to help it rebuild and grow.

It didn't start as any kind of organized movement, but a group called "NOLA YURP" estimates there are at least 5,000 of these young people in the city. They range in age from 21 to 35 years old and come from all walks of life — they may be accountants or attorneys or architects. Some are young people who are from here. They may have gone to college out of state and decided to settle someplace else. Now, many are finding their way back home to help their family and their city.

But there's another segment of YURP who have no filial connection. NOLA YURP director Nathan Rothstein says it's a common story. In the two years since Katrina hit, many college students had the opportunity to visit New Orleans on Spring Break volunteer trips. They saw a real need. Then, once they graduated, these same kids decided to relocate to New Orleans.

Why do these young people come here? Rothstein says many feel like they can have the most impact in New Orleans. They can really make a difference here. They can directly help people who need it and also feel like they're a part of rebuilding a great American city.

Rebuilding comes in fits in starts. For every success story in New Orleans, there's also someone frustrated with the red tape and finger pointing that seems to abound. But, what is amazing is the spirit of New Orleans residents, new and old, and their dogged determinedness to get their city back on its feet.


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Maggie Lineback is a Dallas bureau producer.