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New Orleans Authorities Search For Residents One House At A Time


Authorities in New Orleans continue to deal with many residents who refuse to leave their homes, nearly two weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated the region. Across the country, federal and local officials are turning their focus toward getting aid to the thousands of others now housed in temporary shelters.

Throughout New Orleans, police and national guardsmen are going door to door, confronting residents who, for various reasons, are determined to stay.

As many as 10,000 people are still believed to be inside their homes, authorities have seized numerous weapons. Police spokesman, W.J. Riley says, "No one will be able to be armed. We are going to take all the weapons."

Thursday, Congress approved more than $51 billion in additional funds for hurricane victims, adding to the $10.5 billion lawmakers approved last week. The latest measure, signed by President Bush late Thursday, makes $2,000 available to each displaced family - in the form of debit cards to be issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.

Federal officials began issuing those cards Friday. Meanwhile, there were long lines at Houston's Astrodome complex Thursday, as thousands of evacuees signed up for another debit card - issued by the American Red Cross.

A card is worth $300 to $1,500 U.S., to be used for purchases of anything except tobacco, alcohol, and firearms.

Housing officials in Texas are working to find temporary housing for the 230,000 evacuees now residing there.

Overcome with emotion as she examined the kitchen of her new home in Houston, Keisha Farrell says, "When I saw this man, I just shook my head, and if it wasn't for God, (who ensured) all my enduring was not in vain."

Houston and federal officials say evacuees who were living in public housing units in New Orleans and other Gulf Coast areas affected by Katrina will be given top priority for public housing units across Houston.