Katrina fund tops $6 million and now includes Rita relief
Individuals, groups and companies have donated more than $6 million to a fund drive for Houston-area Hurricane Katrina relief, Mayor Bill White said Wednesday.
The figures came with a City Hall announcement that the drive, launched in September, has been expanded to include relief for Hurricane Rita.
White also announced that the effort — now called the Houston Katrina/Rita Fund — had named a new president and formed a partnership with a similar drive by former Presidents Bush and Clinton.
"Houston has earned new respect around the world because of its efforts in taking care of hurricane victims," White said. "We acted as neighbors to take care of neighbors in a time of tragedy."
Albert Myres, a Shell Oil Co. executive, will head the fund.
"This is a serious and great undertaking that the city is embarking on right now," said Myres, who formerly headed the Shell Oil Foundation.
Most of the $6.3 million in the fund has come from corporations, officials said, but about 400 separate donors have contributed amounts ranging from $25 to $1.5 million.
About $375,000 has been spent so far to help people get groceries.
Houston firm wins Superdome-repair contract
BATON ROUGE, La. — A Houston company won a contract to design repairs to the storm-battered Louisiana Superdome after it pledged to use a Louisiana architect.
Leo Day of Houston was chosen by the state Architect Selection Board Wednesday to perform the $9.4 million project for the Superdome. The firm will work with Blitch-Knevel and Post of New Orleans.
The firm of Eskew Dumez Ripple of New Orleans will be paid about $880,000 to draw plans to restore the New Orleans Arena, which is located next to the Superdome.
The contracts were awarded at a time when the city of San Antonio is trying to convince the New Orleans Saints of the NFL to move to that city. The Saints are playing their home games in San Antonio and Baton Rouge.
The arena's main tenant, the New Orleans Hornets of the NBA, have shifted most home games to Oklahoma City for the upcoming season.
"It's very critical to the economy of the state and the economy of the city that we get the building back up and running, not just for the football team," said Doug Thornton, regional vice president for SMG, which manages the Superdome.
Officials have said it will cost at least $125 million to fix the Superdome. Repairs could take up to two years.