Some 250,000 refugees from Hurricane Katrina still cannot go home, nearly two years after the levees broke. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin led a march April 28 by former city residents demanding that relief dollars be released so that the evacuees, scattered still from coast to coast, can come home and reclaim their homes and their land.

The racist, profit-driven approach taken with regard to the rebuilding of New Orleans has resulted in the restoration of Mardi Gras and the return of the Saints to the Superdome. The Lower 9th Ward, however, is in essentially the same condition it was the day the floodwaters receded. The working people whose labor built and sustained the city are still scattered across the country.

The money appropriated by Congress remains tied up because of jockeying among private corporations anxious to use it to enrich themselves. Only a tiny number of people have been able to come back to the Lower 9th Ward.

The real estate industry has joined the big business cabal and is readying itself to pounce in what could become one of the biggest land grabs ever.

There is a way to rebuild New Orleans for the people of New Orleans and to get everyone back home.

Congress should nationalize the entire rebuilding effort, taking it out of the hands of the corporations. Then the workers, planners, architects and scientists could be hired directly to commence the needed rebuilding effort that has yet to begin. The greedy corporate middlemen have proven themselves useless in this regard.

The approach we support was the approach used 60 years ago when the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was created to build successful projects such as the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Boulder Dam. Those efforts helped pull the nation out of the Great Depression.

The Congress should fire Halliburton and all of the other parasitical corporations, put workers and professionals on the government payroll, hire and involve as many of the city’s displaced people as possible, and let them get down to work.