The Symphony of Hundreds of hammers hammering, a half-dozen circular saws buzzing, and 800 Habitat for Humanity corporate volunteers grunting was a sweet sound in the new New Orleans neighborhood of Musicians' Village, which is set amid some of the worst destruction of Hurricane Katrina. It's here that thousands of homes have been left decrepit and abandoned, with rust-colored marks (called “brown lines” by the locals) on their exteriors showing just how high the flood water rose, in some ...

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