In a joint interview on "Fox News Sunday" with musician Wynton Marsalis, Vitter said people are flooding back to New Orleans for the first time since the Aug. 29 hurricane and the area is "really starting to see activity ramp up now."
"We have a huge opportunity to experiment with new models in new ways to break through (the problems of poverty)," Vitter said. He said reconstruction had been on hold until Congress approved its aid package last week.
Marsalis said the soul of New Orleans survived the hurricane and the city will not be rebuilt as a "Disneyland for adults."
"No way in the world that it's going to turn New Orleans into that," Marsalis said.
Only about a quarter of the city's population has returned to the area. Marsalis said that's because people are still very skeptical about government pledges.