Obama to spend Katrina’s 10th anniversary in New Orleans

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MARTHA’S VINEYARD, Massachusetts – Ten years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, President Barack Obama will visit the city to tour neighborhoods and meet with families still recovering from the devastation.

Obama will meet with Mayor Mitch Landrieu next week to discuss rebuilding efforts and deliver remarks promoting economic innovation in the storm’s aftermath, the White House said Wednesday.

When Obama took office in 2009, the effects of the storm four years earlier were still readily seen in New Orleans, where entire neighborhoods were condemned after flooding.

Hurricane Katrina left some 1,800 dead, a million people displaced and laid bare the socioeconomic and racial disparities rampant along the Gulf Coast.

Speaking at the fifth anniversary of the disaster, Obama lambasted the response from President George W. Bush’s administration, terming it “a shameful breakdown in government.”

“It was a natural disaster but also a man-made catastrophe,” Obama said then, referring to “bodies lying in the streets of a great American city.”

A White House official said Wednesday that during Obama’s time in office, “the administration has focused on supporting the needs of survivors and bolstering the recovery efforts…by cutting red tape to deploy important resources quickly, investing in hard hit communities and ensuring that affected communities build back stronger and more resilient.”

Obama’s visit to New Orleans is book-ended by major climate speeches in Nevada and Alaska, though Obama isn’t expected to make as strong a push for curbing climate change while in Louisiana. In the past, Obama has cited more severe and unpredictable weather as a reason for taking steps to reduce emissions that cause global warming.

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