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Southern governors build with Habitat during regional association meeting

AMERICUS, Ga. (July 14, 2006) – Hammers will ring with the sound of rebuilding on the first day of the 72nd annual meeting of the Southern Governors’ Association, July 15 – 17 in New Orleans. The governors will spend the first day of their meeting volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.

Many of SGA’s governors have seen first-hand the devastation caused by the record-breaking 2005 hurricane season. On Saturday, July 15, SGA Chairman and Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco has invited her colleagues and other meeting attendees to participate as volunteers in the construction of a new community in New Orleans’ Upper Ninth Ward. Known as the Musicians’ Village, this innovative project was conceived by Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick, Jr., in partnership with New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, as a way to help displaced musicians and others come home. Eventually, the village will consist of nearly 300 homes and the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music.

Under Governor Blanco’s leadership, SGA has raised nearly $1.5 million for Habitat for Humanity to construct homes in the hurricane-impacted areas of Louisiana and Mississippi, including the Musicians’ Village. Underwriters for the project include 84 Lumber, Entergy, LP Building Products, American Electric Power (AEP), Chevron, Freddie Mac, ExxonMobil, Shell Oil Company and Symantec. A press conference will be conducted from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. at the 4000 N. Roman St. site in conjunction with the governors’ construction activities.

Founded in 1934, SGA is the oldest and historically the largest of the regional governors’ associations. The ongoing mission of SGA is to support the work of the governors by providing a bipartisan, regional forum to help shape and implement national policy and to solve state and regional problems. The association’s membership is composed of the governors of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia and West Virginia.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in Americus, Ga., in 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org.