Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Turki Al-Faisal visited New Orleans, Louisiana on July 12 to see first-hand the progress of the Saudi relief effort in the city following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and to assess future needs.
Prince Turki in New Orleans
Prince Turki toured the Lower Ninth Ward, one of the hardest-hit areas of New Orleans, and the city’s historic French Quarter, accompanied by Brig. Gen. Hunt Downer of the Louisiana National Guard.
He also met with Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu and Mayor Ray Nagin.
While in New Orleans, Prince Turki addressed the World Trade Center of New Orleans. In his remarks , the ambassador stressed Saudi support for the people of New Orleans as they rebuild after Katrina. “We stood by you as you weathered the storm, and we continue to stand by you,” he said.
It is an Arab custom to help people in need without asking questions or expecting anything in return, Prince Turki said.
“There is a unity of spirit that comes with a natural disaster. In the face of a hurricane, we are all one and the same," he said.
"Our different religions do not matter to the path of a wave. And our politics cease to be important on ground shaken by an earthquake.”
Prince Turki at the World Trade Center of New Orleans
Saudi Arabia’s contribution to the Katrina Relief Fund is among the highest in the world. The Kingdom also has been working with several regional organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Second Harvesters Food Bank, and Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, to rebuild homes and provide assistance to families in the Gulf Coast region.