The President travels to Louisiana for a commemoration of the fifth year since hurricane hit
President Barack Obama is aiming to underscore his commitment to a region weary of calamity as he travels to New Orleans on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Obama ends his Martha’s Vineyard vacation Sunday and heads to the Gulf, five years to the day from when Katrina roared ashore in Louisiana. Eighty percent of New Orleans was flooded when the storm tore through protective levees.
More than 1,800 people along the Gulf coast died in the storm, mostly in Louisiana.
After years where halting progress mixed often with setbacks and despair, the city was getting back on its feet when the BP oil spill dealt another blow. The exploded well spewed more than 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf before it was capped in mid-July.
Obama is to speak Sunday afternoon at Xavier University, a historically black, Catholic university that was badly flooded by the storm. The White House says he will discuss what’s been done and remains to be done in rebuilding from Katrina, and also talk about an oil spill cleanup that’s been complicated by conflicting assessments of how much oil remains and its long-term effects.
For Obama, one challenge is to reassure residents who remain skeptical of government promises after witnessing former President George W. Bush’s response to Katrina, which was criticized as out-of-touch and hamhanded. Although criticism of Obama’s response to the Gulf oil spill rarely reached the level of anger directed at Bush, some still saw it as lacking in speed and coordination. Obama has work to do to change that perception.
Moreover, Obama arrives as many residents of the Louisiana coast chafe under the moratorium on deepwater oil drilling he ordered in the wake of the spill, which is costing New Orleans’ oil-industry-dependant economy. And many residents would like to see a greater federal commitment to restoring the coast’s rapidly eroding wetlands which provide the first line of defense again hurricanes.
The one-day visit to New Orleans is the start of a grueling period for Obama, who must set a fall agenda amid punishing economic news. Crucial midterm elections loom in November.
Tuesday marks the formal end to combat missions in Iraq, and Obama is to address troops in Ft. Bliss, Texas, and deliver an Oval Office speech. The next day he plunges into Middle East diplomacy, hosting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for individual talks and a joint dinner ahead of direct negotiations Thursday between the leaders.
And once Congress returns after Labor Day, more battles await as Obama tries to push his legislative agenda.
More Related Stories
- 51 killed in massive Oklahoma tornado
- Don't cry climate-change wolf
- Record tornado devastates Oklahoma
- Limbaugh: No one willing to impeach the first black president
- Tornado reduces Oklahoma City suburb to rubble
- AP: Toll at least 37 dead in Okla. tornado
- Entire Midwest on tornado warning
- Oregon senator proposes appeal to Monsanto Protection Act
- Supreme Court to rule on prayer at government meetings
- Beltway scandal machine breaks, knows nothing about America
- Gitmo hunger striker launches Twitter campaign
- "Hero" cop, honored by Obama, accused of double rape
- Father of gay high school student arrested for dating classmate speaks out
- Pentagon adviser pushed Anthrax drug, which his firm produced
- Conservatives A-OK with closeted Boy Scouts
- The new geography of poverty
- Promotion for NYPD cop who cost city $1.5m in settlements
- Obama to all-male university graduates: Be the best husband to "your boyfriend or partner"
- The truth in Kanye's anti-prison rap
- GOP attorney general candidate tried to force women to report miscarriages to police
- Chinese hackers resume attacks against U.S.
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11