Former New Orleans Mayor Morial, Now National Urban League President, Proposes Plan for Rebuilding Communities in Gulf Coast States
By Guy F. Smith
October 17, 2005
Marc H. Morial, former mayor of New Orleans and now President of the National Urban League, said a national post 9/11 effort should be the model for the immense task of rebuilding the Gulf Coast states.
Morial, in an address at the Washington’s Georgetown University Law Center, his alma mater, on October 12 urged Congress to work with Hurricane Katrina victims. He said current rebuilding efforts are inadequate and unfair to the displaced residents in terms of contracting, jobs and land reacquisition.
As reported in the October 13 Washington Times, Morial outlined a plan for recovery and rebuilding, the “Katrina Bill of Rights.” It calls for Congress to provide extended unemployment assistance and would establish a victims’ compensation fund similar to the $7 billion fund established for September 11 victims.
The plan also would seek to secure the rights of displaced resident to vote in their hometowns if they so choose, encouraging financial institutions to stay loan and mortgage until people can return, and freeze foreclosure proceedings for at least one year.
“The final and perhaps most important right that every resident of the Gulf coast be assured of is the right to work – for there is no better anti-poverty program than a good job,” Morial said.
Morial was President of The United States Conference of Mayors (2001-2002) and helped mobilize the Conference’s policy response post 9/11 in such areas as supporting the federalization of airport passenger screeners, creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and a National Emergency Summit on Safety and Security in America’s Cities, sponsored by the Conference of Mayors.
He was mayor of New Orleans from 1994 until 2002 before being named President of the National Urban League. The organization is the oldest community-based civil rights and direct service organization in the country.