Baton Rouge, La., Dec 2 - A Louisiana State University study says state residents gave churches higher marks over government agencies in responding to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The survey also said residents prefer the federal government control rebuilding funds rather than local officials, The Washington Times reports.

On a scale of 1 (not effective) to 10 (very effective) in the survey, residents gave churches 8.1, while New Orleans city agencies and state agencies received a 4.6.

Hundreds of churches and synagogues stepped up to help when municipal, state and federal agencies faltered in their early response to the devastation wrought by the hurricanes, the study said.

The residents gave better scores to federal agencies than state and city agencies despite the criticism against the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The majority of Louisianans, 54 percent, said the federal government should pick up the tab for rebuilding, and a 40 percent plurality said they trusted the federal government to have primary control over how funds are spent. Only 23 percent said local governments should control the purse strings, the Times reported.

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