Search for bodies completed in New Orleans

Officials ended their door-to-door sweep for corpses finding far fewer bodies than once feared and school children returned to classes as New Orleans step by step recover from Hurricane Katrina.

The search for Katrina victims ended in Louisiana with a death toll at 964, substantially less than the 10,000 victims some officials feared. A private company hired by the state to remove bodies was on call if any others were found.

The death toll probably will continue to rise, but according to authorities sweeps yielded fewer bodies than feared, and that the toll was likely to be musch below the dire projections. Mayor Ray Nagin said soon after Katrina struck that New Orleans alone could have 10,000 dead.

There were signs of normalcy in the city Monday - five weeks to the day since Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast. St. Andrew the Apostle elementary school in the reopened Algiers neighborhood was the first Roman Catholic school to resume in New Orleans.

Archdiocese officials said their schools also were reopening in areas outside the city. Some public schools in nearby parishes also opened Monday, but public schools in New Orleans remain closed. Some may resume by November.

On Tuesday, former President Bill Clinton was to travel to Louisiana to meet with hurricane survivors at a Baton Rouge shelter, get a briefing from officials on the relief effort and tour New Orleans' largely destroyed Ninth Ward. Clinton and former President George H.W. Bush are heading up the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, which has raised $100 million to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues pumping water out of the lower Ninth Ward and efforts to rebuild the levees that breached, causing water to cascade into the city, remained under way.

Electricity had been restored to about 36 percent of New Orleans customers and to about 99 percent of the customers in neighboring Jefferson Parish, the AP reports.

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