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Hopelessness begins to lift in New Orleans
Updated: 2005-09-12 08:39

Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Katrina's onslaught, Sunday was marked by signs that hopelessness was beginning to lift in this shattered city. While the final toll from the disaster remains unknown, there were indications New Orleans had begun to turn a corner.

US President Bush, eager to show hands-on leadership in the Gulf Coast hurricane recovery effort, joined commanders working from a military ship docked in this flooded city. The president was spending the night on the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima, which is serving as a control center in the relief efforts.

On Monday, he planned to tour the New Orleans area and Gulfport, Miss., in his third and longest visit to the region in the nearly two weeks since Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding struck the states.

Members of a San Diego search and rescue team move along floodwaters in their boat on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2005, in New Orleans. (AP
Members of a San Diego search and rescue team move along floodwaters in their boat on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2005, in New Orleans. [AP]
"You see the cleaning of the streets. You see the people coming out," said volunteer Norman Flowers. "The people aren't as afraid anymore."

Flowers, deployed by the Southern Baptist Convention, stood in the bed of a pickup truck on Canal Street, leading police, firefighters and relief workers in song, punctuated by the exuberant honk of a fire truck nearby.

"This is a sign of progress," said New Orleans resident Linda Taylor, gesturing at the impromptu gathering. "Last Sunday, I couldn't find any church services. This Sunday, people have gathered together to worship."

Numerous residents were able to visit their homes for the first time, however briefly, as floodwaters receded and work crews cleared trees, debris and downed telephone poles from major streets.

Albert Gaude III, a Louisiana State University fisheries agent, was among those returning for the first time since the storm.
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