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New Orleans plans to replace flooded housing with new parkland

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OVER 200,000 homes in the most badly flooded areas of New Orleans will be bulldozed and the sites turned into parkland, a senior Louisiana official said last month.

'Where the flooding was most significant, parks or wetlands will need to be established, along with a strengthening of the levees and an improved pumping system, ' said Louisiana Economic Development assistant secretary Don Pierson.

Pierson said parts of the Lower Ninth Ward and St Bernard areas of the city could be cleared to provide flood plains. The plans have yet to be rubber-stamped at local government level.

Pierson added that the Federal Government would make compulsory land purchases and provide residents with relocation funds.

Money for the long term rebuilding of the city has yet to be approved by Congress, but Pierson said that the State of Louisiana had made a request for $250bn for statewide reconstruction.

'Funding must be significant, not just to rebuild New Orleans as a tourist area. It's also major port facility and transference point for much of the oil and gas collected in the Gulf, ' he added.

Pierson said that while a complete rebuild of the city could take between 10 and 15 years, he expected that the French Quarter, largely unaffected by the flooding, would host Mardi Gras next year.

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