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Qatar emir visits New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, April 29 (UPI) -- The emir of Qatar arrived in New Orleans Tuesday to get a first-hand look at how the $100 million his country sent the hurricane-ravaged city has been spent.

His schedule included a groundbreaking at Xavier University for a $12.5 million College of Pharmacy building, the Gulf Times reported. At a lunch in his honor, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani got the personal thanks of a student chosen to represent the hundreds who received scholarships from Qatar so that they could continue their education after Hurricane Katrina.

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Much of Qatar's money went for education, with almost $20 million divided among students at Xavier, Tulane, Louisiana State University and Loyola. Juan Marshall, now a senior at Loyola majoring in music education, told The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune he probably would have had to drop out after the 2005 hurricane destroyed his family home if he had not received a scholarship.

Qatar also donated $22 million to Habitat for Humanity, $5.4 million to Children's Hospital to pay for care for the uninsured and $5 million for the Community Health Center at Tulane.

Dr. Karen DeSalvo, executive director of the Tulane clinic, said Qatar was a demanding contributor, requiring proof of how money was spent.

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