President Barack Obama visited New Orleans to give his thoughts on the city’s progress five years after it was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.
The president stopped by Xavier University on Sunday and congratulated New Orleanians on their success rebuilding thus far. However, the area still has miles to go before it’s restored to its former glory and he’s pledged his help in the massive task.
“While an incredible amount of progress has been made,” the president acknowledged, “I wanted to come here and tell the people of this city directly: My administration is going to stand with you—and fight alongside you—until the job is done.”
As New Orleans continues to move forward, despite the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Obama said there is no longer a need to look back and mourn about what the city lost five years ago.
“There’s no need to dwell on what you experienced and what the world witnessed. We all remember it keenly,” the president said. “It was a natural disaster but also a manmade catastrophe—shameful breakdown in government.“
“In the years that followed, New Orleans could have remained a symbol of destruction and decay…But that’s not what happened,” Obama added. “Instead this city has become a symbol of resilience and of community and of the fundamental responsibility that we have to one another.”
Even as Obama praised the citizens of New Orleans for their ability to bounce back, he announced his administration is doing all it can to see that a catastrophe like Katrina never wrecks the city again. He told the crowd gathered at Xavier that the government has begun a civil works project to build a system of fortified levees, which would protect again a 100-year storm. The president hopes to have the structures in place by next year.
— Sonya Eskridge