Visiting Bush lauds progress since Katrina, skirts slow initial response

29 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bush lauds recovery 10 years after Katrina.

“I’m just an average guy with above average dreams — and my dream was to make my neighborhood look like the rest of the city,” he told the CBS Evening News. The two met with students at the school’s gymnasium, where he was also greeted by New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu and former Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco, who was in office during Hurricane Katrina.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Visiting residents on tidy porch stoops and sampling the fried chicken at a corner restaurant, President Barack Obama held out the people of New Orleans on Thursday as an extraordinary example of renewal and resilience 10 years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. “There’s something in you guys that is just irrepressible,” Obama told hundreds of residents assembled at a bustling new community center in an area of the Lower 9th Ward that was once under 17 feet of water. “The people of New Orleans didn’t just inspire me, you inspired all of America.” Still, Obama acknowledged that much remains to be done.First, rather than visiting the scene of the disaster, he made a flyover in Air Force One a couple of days later, as he returned from a vacation in Texas. After becoming the first to rebuild on his block, Colton took things one step further: he tore off the roof of an old apartment building located in the abandoned area, renovated it and put on display a two-word sign outside. And after walking door to door in the historic Treme section of a city reborn from tragedy, he cautioned that “just because the housing is nice doesn’t mean our job is done.” In his remarks at the community center, Obama blended the same themes of resilience and renewal that he drew from encounters with the sturdy residents he met along Magic Street and at other locations.

Worse, he was photographed staring at the stricken city from his giant jet, thus appearing, as he said in an interview, “detached and uncaring.” “Brownie” was Michael D. Bush did not address what made the flooding a rich target for critics of his administration: the weakness of the initial response to the disaster when federal, state, and city agencies were widely seen as doing far too little to help the stranded and displaced, and doing it much too slowly. After New Orleans, the Bush family will visit Gulfport, Mississippi, to attend an event with state officials, including governor Phil Bryant and former governor Haley Barbour.

The speech will be carefully watched because the Pope is likely to express different views on climate change and on the Iran nuclear accord than held by most congressional Republicans. Many New Orleans residents make the distinction between those horrific first days and what was eventually a robust federal rebuilding effort, a difference Bush himself noted in his memoir, “Decision Points.” “I should have recognized the deficiencies sooner and intervened faster,” he wrote. “All of us who are old enough to remember will never forget the images of our fellow Americans amid a sea of misery and ruin,” Bush said Friday.

The Gulf Coast and New Orleans are places to which Mr Bush is deeply tied, both as an eastern Texan familiar with the Gulf and as the president who inherited the Katrina disaster. He talked about recently released data from the spring, indicating the economy grew more than had first reported, saying the news is reassuring after two weeks of stock market turmoil. She pronounced herself a fan of the man, saying he’d handled “a rough road.” Chase — who’s known as the “Queen of Creole Cuisine” — said, “That’s all you have to do: handle what’s handed to you,” voicing what could be a credo for the city. The occasion was an impromptu press conference after the president eventually decided to visit the wind-whipped and flooded region where almost 2,000 people had died in the costliest natural disaster to hit the U.S. “Brownie,” critics claimed, had not done a “heckuva job” at all.

But twice, he said, “I hope you remember what I remember,” citing the work of military personnel, law enforcement, and thousands of volunteers in rescuing, feeding, sheltering, and rebuilding. “In spite of the devastation, we have many fond memories,” he added, recalling sitting with Russel L. And he challenged congressional Republicans to work with him to develop a balanced spending plan, and not add contentious budget cuts and legislative riders they know he can’t and won’t accept – potentially leading to the 2nd government shutdown since 2013. Some Republicans are already saying they’ll insist on language defunding Planned Parenthood, and some are also vowing another effort to repeal or at scale back the Affordable Care Act — both non-starters for the president. “And you know, eventually, we’re going to do it anyway, so let’s just do it without too much drama,” Obama said in his New Orleans speech. “Let’s do it without another round of threats to shut down the government. And when it emerged that his previous non-White House job was as a commissioner of the obscure and apparently elitist International Arabian House Association, many eyebrows raised.

But in the city at large, where signs of recovery are just blocks away from neighborhoods where little progress can be seen, bitter memories of the days after the flood are still common. A columnist at The New York Times called Michael Brown “legendary as a disaster in his own right.” Later, he was CNN’s “Political Turkey of the Year” for his handling of Katrina.

The overhaul of schools itself has been polarizing, as more than 8,500 employees of the old school system — most of them from the city’s black middle class — were laid off in the first year. “I guess I’m not feeling quite as magnanimous as some others are,” said Bob Mann, who was the communications director for Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, the governor 10 years ago. “The first week was awful, the second week was better, and after that they increasingly did a very good job of helping the region get back on its feet,” Mann said. “But that doesn’t absolve anyone, including the state, of their failures in that first week. While Mississippi’s Gulf Coast recovered all its population and then some, Bush and his team have been so deeply resented in New Orleans that Carnival goers displayed them in effigy at annual Mardi Gras parades.

In this Friday 2006 photo, former FEMA Director Michael Brown arranges reference documents prior to testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, about the response to Hurricane Katrina. And it should be remembered.” Warren Easton, which Bush visited in 2006, on the first anniversary of the flood, was the first public high school in Louisiana when it opened in 1843.

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. Am I correct?” Obama also challenged Republican presidential candidates who, he said, have very little good to say about the current status of the United States. “But it’s important that we remember what’s right, and what’s good, and what’s hopeful about this country,” Obama said. “It’s worth remembering that for all the tragedy, for the all images of Katrina in those first few days, in those first few months, look at what’s happened here.” Gov. In Mississippi, relief came so slowly that Biloxi’s Sun Herald newspaper published a front-page editorial, entitled “Help Us Now.” The storm set off a “confluence of blunders,” and Bush’s approval ratings never recovered, said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University who wrote “The Great Deluge,” a detailed account of the first days after Katrina.

In his speech, Obama said Katrina helped expose inequalities that long plagued New Orleans and left too many people, especially minorities, without good jobs, affordable health care or decent housing and too many kids growing up in the midst of violent crime and attending inefficient schools. He defended himself in his 2011 book, “Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm: Hurricane Katrina, The Bush White House, and Beyond.” He now hosts a talk show on Denver’s KHOW-FM. (Photo: Dennis Cook, AP) Lots of things. Phil Bryant said Bush isn’t to blame for the disaster that ultimately killed more than 1,830 people. “I think he certainly did a tremendous amount of good. The area is filled with vacant lots where houses used to stand, so overgrown that local residents sometimes refer to it as the wilderness and worry about snakes hiding in the grass. On Friday, she recalled those early days, when Bush’s senior adviser, Karl Rove, falsely accused her of not having signed a disaster declaration before the storm’s landfall, and when the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the time, Michael Brown, promised buses that did not arrive.

Colette Pichon Battle, executive director of Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy, cautioned against slapping too happy a face on New Orleans, saying “rebuilding since the storm favors privileged private enterprise and this illusion of recovery is not progress.” “I think we have a long way to go,” said Lisa Ross, 52, an appraiser. He’s managing some investments and has done consulting for companies, including several connected with disaster relief and national security. “I absolutely love doing it,” Brown told USA TODAY from Denver, Colo., before his shift as an afternoon talk show host on KHOW, which is syndicated to several other stations around the state. “I had always made it a point whenever I traveled as the undersecretary,” he said, “to make sure I always met with the local TV and radio stations as a good PR effort on behalf of FEMA.

Harold Washington, 54, a military retiree studying at Tulane, said the city is “better than it was.” But he was sad that children are now bused all over town rather than attending neighborhood schools. And that led to a part-time radio gig and that led to a full-time afternoon drive show.” “And I would also describe myself as an equal-opportunity basher,” he added. “The one thing that my experience in DC gave me was a unique perspective on how things really work as opposed to how people beyond the Beltway think that they work in Washington. That bill stalled in the Senate, with opponents saying they didn’t think it would have stopped anyone determined to commit a violent crime from getting a gun. He’s showing them how to be self-confident – how to be comfortable in your positions, to be comfortable in what you believe and think, and how not to try to say everything in the filter of political correctness. “He’s showing them that what people want is someone to tell them the damn truth. … They’re tired of politicians who won’t say what they honestly believe or a scared to use strong language, strong and colorful language that gets the message across.

And once we know that, if they mesh with the majority of Americans, then, shoot, I don’t think there’s any telling how far he could go.” “It would be naïve to say that that is not a part of me,” he said. “That will always be a part of what people see. That is, under our system of government, that is the role and responsibility of state and local government.” Eventually, Brown said, Nagin issued a call for people to leave – “It wasn’t even mandatory” – telling those that would not leave or could not leave to head to the Superdome as a last resort. “Can I quit now? Louisiana eventually turned all 57 schools under its control into independently run charters, publicly funded and accountable to education officials for results, but with autonomy in daily operations. “Isn’t it amazing? And a few days later, Brown wrote to an acquaintance, “I’m trapped now, please rescue me.” “I don’t have any problem with those,” he says, explaining that he had wanted to quit in the spring of 2005 and was persuaded to stay through the hurricane season. “That was the joke.” “Does a surgeon joke in the middle of lifesaving surgery? These people I was joking with, they’re sleeping in their cars, they’re working 24 hours a day, they’re putting their heart and soul into helping people, and if I can put a smile on their face, remind them of their humanity and encourage them to keep doing what they’re doing, I would do it. … After a meeting with the governor of Mississippi, Brown said, he boarded a plane to Baton Rouge, the Louisiana capital. “The pilot comes on and says Secretary Chertoff wants to talk to me.

I should have told Michael Chertoff at the point, ‘If that’s the way you are going to run this, then you come down and run it – I’m outta here.’ Because you cannot … manage a crisis sitting behind a desk. “And that was a dumbassed move of Michael Chertoff.

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