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Bush Revisits New Orleans to Assess Relief Efforts

President Bush is in New Orleans on his eighth visit to areas affected by hurricanes last month that killed more than a thousand people.

President Bush met with state and local officials late Monday to review how recovery efforts are proceeding more than a month after Hurricane Katrina struck America's Gulf Coast. He was joined by local members of Congress and military officials commanding relief operations at a dinner with members of a commission established by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

The Bring Back New Orleans Commission is meant to help rebuild this city at the end of the Mississippi River that was hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. Much of the city flooded and then flooded again when Hurricane Rita struck weeks later.

President Bush says the federal government will pay most of the costs of rebuilding from the hurricanes, including the cost of new roads and bridges, schools, job training and health care.

White House officials say the president is meeting with local leaders because he wants them to take the lead in determining for themselves how the Gulf Coast will be rebuilt.

There is no word yet on how much that is going to cost. Congress has already approved more than 60-billion dollars despite concerns from some fiscal conservatives. President Bush says it is going to cost whatever it is going to cost.

Early Tuesday, the president and Mrs. Bush take part in a home-building project outside New Orleans. The charity Habitat for Humanity is central to federal efforts to rebuild thousands of homes of people displaced by the killer storms.

The president and first lady will also join local leaders Tuesday for the reopening of an elementary school in Covington, Louisiana.