Blacks are streaming back to New Orleans to take advantage of the well-paid work available there .... Whoops! ... I got it wrong:
"Much of New Orleans lies abandoned and destroyed after Hurricane Katrina struck nearly four months ago, but for Latin American immigrants the storm-ravaged city has become a land of opportunity. While New Orleans residents are slow to return, the immigrants, most of them illegally in the United States, have swarmed in to do the hard work of cleaning up and rebuilding that others so far have shunned. They are not here because of altruism -- New Orleans is just another place in a strange land to them -- but because there is a huge unfulfilled demand for labor and, as a result, high wages they cannot get in their homeland or in other U.S. cities. In a sight common in the southwestern U.S., but new to New Orleans, they crowd street corners starting at daybreak, offering themselves as day laborers to anyone who needs them.
Most days, Delgado and his colleagues -- sometimes as many as 200 on this corner parking lot near the New Orleans central business district -- get hired quickly by contractors in passing pickup trucks, who whisk them off to whatever project is pending. "Baby, we couldn't do it without them," one of the employers shouted through his truck window.
There is so much work to be done, the immigrants say, that often they finish, return to the corner and get hired the same day for another job. The pay is good -- "$10, $12, $15 an hour," said Jose Del Rio, 38, from Chihuahua, Mexico -- and there are few problems....
The city was mostly abandoned after Katrina flooded 80 percent of it on Aug. 29 and most of it still sits empty and in ruins, waiting to be rebuilt. Mayor Ray Nagin said this week studies showed that as many as 150,000 of the pre-storm 462,000 residents have returned, but many doubt the figure is that high..... When asked where the American workers were, Del Rio shook his head and said, "Who knows? It just seems like the Latin race likes to work more.""
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