Harry Connick Jr. urged lawmakers yesterday (Oct. 6) to spare no expense in rebuilding New Orleans and making Gulf Coast citizens safe in their homes. Connick appeared in Washington, D.C., before the Senate Finance Committee as the honorary chairman of Habitat for Humanity‘s Operation Home Delivery, a long-term program to replace housing destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
“I come to you with hope,” he told the committee. “I have no doubt that the government of this great nation will work with its people to lead New Orleans and the Gulf Coast back to an enlightened, proud, safe part of the world. I implore you to make it right, to make us proud.”
Connick, who grew up in New Orleans, said the Habitat for Humanity job lets him “channel this incredible sadness that has devoured my soul.”
“I don’t think money should be an object,” he told the senators.
The hearing, called to examine President Bush’s ideas for using tax incentives to lure businesses to the Gulf Coast, seated the entertainer among tax experts and government officials, including former lawmaker Jack Kemp.
Kemp appeared to promote a special Gulf Coast tax and investment zone, but he also praised Habitat for Humanity as one of the most cost-effective ways to provide housing for low-income families. He urged the senators to revise the rules governing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to help fund the group’s programs.
The idea intrigued Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) who said he had experience “banging my thumb” while volunteering to help build two houses with the housing organization.
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