The Gulf's Lingering Pain

Shortages of workers and money are hindering the region's recovery, though some debt relief is on the way. The big question: When will the tourists come back?

Last season's hurricanes decimated Louisiana's economy, had severe effects on the entire Gulf region, and sent ripples across the nation. In the Gulf, damages added up to well above the previous record of $43 billion (in current dollars) from Hurricane Andrew, which blasted South Florida in 1992. The recovery has moved slowly, particularly in Louisiana, where New Orleans lost about $6 billion of economic output in 2005. The pain is not yet over. Despite the city's halting steps toward recovery, that amount may double in 2006.

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