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Laura shows 'class' among refugees

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First Lady Laura Bush yesterday urged Hurricane Katrina survivors to enroll their kids in school no matter where they're stranded so the kids can hang onto a "sense of normalcy" amid the chaos left by the storm.

"It's very important to get your child in school. It gives children a sense of normalcy," said the former teacher and school librarian as she comforted victims.

"Go ahead and enroll your kids in school. It's very important for them."

Mrs. Bush was at the Cajundome in Lafayette, La., where she hailed local folks for welcoming 6,000 refugees and helping them get their kids into school, find housing and maybe even new jobs - and she offered the peaceful scene as a contrast to lawless New Orleans.

"This doesn't really look like what we are seeing on television . . . bad things are not going on here, and I think that's really important for people to know and to see," she said.

She rejected a reporter's suggestion that the lawless images are hurting America's image overseas.

"When people are displaced, they're scared, they're frustrated . . . I think people understand that," she said.

She also urged "people who want to volunteer, and who have the ability to be able to come to Louisiana or any of the Gulf Coast states that were affected and volunteer, to try to do that."

The first lady said she'd met a mother who lost one of her daughters; daughters who lost their mother; and people who were "literally stuck on a bridge" until they were plucked to safety.

Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

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