The Southern Christian Leadership Conference,
the civil rights organization founded by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and others in New Orleans in 1957, will return to the city of its birth this week for the first of several 50th anniversary celebrations. The SCLC, which seeks to "redeem the soul of America," was formed in New Orleans in the wake of the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott. The local celebration will include town hall meetings and updates on Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
More than 700 volunteers
have worked out of Camp Hope in St. Bernard Parish since Jan. 1 to help New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity (NOAHH) continue assisting in the parish's post-Katrina recovery. The volunteers have focused this year on community-based needs, including renovation work at homes owned by seniors and disabled citizens, helping jump-start St. Bernard's commercial fishing industry, and rehabbing the parish's community center, senior center, Isleño cultural center and battered women's shelter.
Fannie Mae and KaBOOM!
are joining forces for a "day of play" in New Orleans. More than 1,500 volunteers from the two institutions will build new playgrounds at six New Orleans elementary schools on Tuesday (Feb. 13) as part of their effort to build 100 playgrounds in communities hit by Hurricane Katrina. Fannie Mae is a federally chartered company that works with lenders to finance home ownership. KaBOOM is a charitable nonprofit that helps build recreational facilities in neighborhoods across America.
has once again demonstrated its ability to gum up the work of recovery. The latest example is the agency's refusal to sign off on Louisiana Recovery Authority's plan to give homeowners over age 65 a break on the amount they can recover from the Road Home program if they decide to sell their homes. FEMA says that's age discrimination. At stake is $1.2 billion in hazard-mitigation funds. Many seniors don't have the will to rebuild and would prefer to live with their grown children or enter retirement homes.