Obama: New Orleans Moving Forward ; President Visits City to Commemorate 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

By Superville, Darlene | Charleston Gazette Mail, August 28, 2015 | Go to article overview

Obama: New Orleans Moving Forward ; President Visits City to Commemorate 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina


Superville, Darlene, Charleston Gazette Mail


NEW ORLEANS - Walking door to door in a city reborn after tragedy, President Obama says New Orleans is moving forward a decade after Hurricane Katrina. He offered the city as an example of what can happen when people rally to build a better future after suffering a devastating blow. The president's first stop on a visit marking the storm's 10th anniversary was Treme, one of the oldest black neighborhoods in America and an area that experienced significant flooding during Katrina. A cheering crowd welcomed him to an area where homes inundated by the storm have been rebuilt.

As the president went from house to house, he chatted with residents, calling out, "How you doing? and, "We appreciate you.

Reflecting on the improved surroundings, Obama declared, "The fact that we can make this many strides 10 years after a terrible epic disaster, I think, is an indication of the kind of spirit we have in this city."

It was an informal version of the broader message Obama planned to deliver later at a newly opened community center in the Lower 9th Ward, one of the hardest-hit areas of the city and one that is still struggling to recover.

"Not long ago, our gathering here in the Lower 9th might have seemed unlikely, Obama said in speech excerpts released in advance by the White House. "But today, this new community center stands as a symbol of the extraordinary resilience of this city and its people, of the entire Gulf Coast, indeed, of the United States of America. You are an example of what's possible when, in the face of tragedy and hardship, good people come together to lend a hand, and to build a better future.

"That, more than any other reason, is why I've come back here today, said Obama, making his ninth visit to the city. He also visited on the hurricane's fifth anniversary in 2010.

The president stopped for lunch in Treme with some local young men at Willie Mae's corner restaurant, apparently a return visit. Obama noted that on his last visit, he didn't have the fried chicken.

Obama was a new U.S. senator when Katrina's powerful winds and driving rain bore down on Louisiana on Aug. 29, 2005. The storm caused major damage to the Gulf Coast from Texas to central Florida while powering a storm surge that breached the system of levees meant to protect New Orleans from flooding.

Nearly 2,000 people died, most in New Orleans. Eighty percent of the city was flooded for weeks. One million people were displaced.

Video of residents seeking refuge on rooftops, inside the Superdome and at the convention center dominated news coverage as Katrina came to symbolize government failure at every level. The storm went down in history as the costliest natural disaster to strike the U. …

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