October 15th, 2009
01:27 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama's visit to New Orleans drawing some criticism

(CNN) – President Barack Obama, who as a candidate lambasted the federal government for its response to Hurricane Katrina, is visiting New Orleans, Louisiana, as president for the first time Thursday, and is attracting some criticism of his own.

Four years after Hurricane Katrina, evidence of the storm's devastation still linger. Some 60,000 properties in New Orleans are still abandoned, and there are still 1,500 people in Louisiana living in temporary housing, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Army Corps of Engineers is only a third of the way through a $15 billion system to provide 100-year flood protection for the city.

However, the agency says 76 disputed projects in Louisiana have been resolved since Obama took office, and more than $1.4 billion in aid has been sent to Louisiana, along with more than $160 million to Mississippi. Still, the length and nature of Obama's visit Thursday is drawing some ire.


Obama will spend less than four hours in New Orleans - visiting a charter school and holding a town hall meeting - before flying to a fundraiser in California. He will not be visiting other areas of the Gulf Coast that suffered damage from Katrina in 2005, such as the Mississippi coast.

"The people of New Orleans deserve more than a 'drive-through daiquiri' summit with the president," Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, said in a news conference Monday.

And Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, wrote in a letter to Obama saying, "if the town hall is the only major event of the visit, I truly think it will be deeply disappointing to most citizens."


Filed under: David Vitter • New Orleans • President Obama
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Is there anything that some people won't complain about if it pertains to President Obama?
    At least he got off the plane and toured the city. The shrub did a fly by! This is, once again, bush's mess which Obama has been left to clean up after!

    October 15, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  2. Gary Jaussaud

    Gary's comment is:

    I find it so strange, and somewhat funny, that anything President Obama does or says, someone thinks he has done a bad thing. What
    is up with our fellow Americans, everyone needs to stop watching the'24 hour news programs and read more and pitch in and help the
    country and and not try and tear it down. Togeather we will remain the
    best country in the World.

    October 15, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Island girl

    It would take a Republican to criticize. He should be embarrased that his comrade, Bush, was sitting at his Texas ranch and FEMA was fiddling while thousands were being washed out to sea. Instead of builiding proper levees/dykes for New Orleans, money was being spent on war.

    President Obama's visit may be a short one but he has a lot on his plate and cannot be everywhere at the same time.

    October 15, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  4. Fools and their freedoms are soon parted

    Maybe he is too busy posing for pictures, wasting $$$ and guttting the Constitution

    October 15, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. Gene

    If he spends an hour there.. people will be complaining that he's not there long enough. If he spends 8 hours there, people will be complaining that there's nothing he can personally do and he's just there for a photo op... if he spends the night there, people will be complaining that he's using tax money to take a vacation.

    Obama can't win no matter what he does.. because there is no doing the right thing in the eyes of the republicans.. only reasons to complain.

    October 15, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. Joane Johnson

    I cannot believe these hypocritical republicans are chastising the president. Especially after the stellar performance of the last administration after Katrina. Are you kidding me? Drive by? What had been done before his taking office? Nothing? Duh!!!! There you go, another chance to point the finger at a democrat when we know who failed the people of the Mississippi gulf area most grievously.

    October 15, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Big Gay Sniffit

    Does Saturday Night Live have to do a skit making fun of Obama for going to New Orleans AFTER going to Copenhagan for the Olympics and NEVER going to Samoa after their devastation for CNN to "fact check" or even point these facts out?

    October 15, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. Devin Blanks

    "His visit wasn't long enough"? Please. The Republicans really need to start singing a different song. I swear, if President Obama found the cure for cancer, the Republicans would probably say- "This administration is obviously spending way too much money on scientific research".

    October 15, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. Eddie

    Let's see.....Nope, I still don't care!

    October 15, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. AllenP

    Obama does [fill in anything Obama does here] and draws criticism.

    Write article with Republican criticism but don't bother to explain that such criticisms are shallow and hypacritical because those same Republicans didn't criticise fellow Republicans (like Bush) who did the exact same thing.

    Rinse and repeat.

    October 15, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. katiec

    It appears to me President Obama has accomplished alot for Louisiana and Mississipi during his short time in office. It is
    not like he has other things on his plate.
    Why has it taken FOUR YEARS to get this far??

    October 15, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. mark

    a lot more than bush did – republican fools

    October 15, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  13. Realist

    The president needs to pay a considerable amount of attention to New Orleans. He can't or shouldn't do it all at one time however, baby -steps. The previous administration thought they could do everything better than any other administration and generally made a mess of all they had their hands in.

    So give the current president some latitude to do things differently and maybe better. Louisana legislators and businessmen should work with the current administration to improve the process and rebuilding of the area rather than criticize and complain right off the bat.

    October 15, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. Carlawoodson

    I lived in new orleans before the hurricane i appreciate that he's coming no matter how long he stays

    October 15, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. PULEEEZZZ!! lets tell some truth

    If Obama puts his right foot first, then his left foot first in his pants, we will be criticised for doing it wrong. If Obama sneezes, he will be criticised. The party of NO, the party of War, the party of Greed cannot survive without criticisms of our president. But these are the people who call them selves patriots and good Christians. What they dont understand, is that more and more of us SEE right through their attemps

    October 15, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. mms55

    well at least he's getting out of the plane, that's more than bush did.You wouldn't hear a word if this wasn't a red state.they're not going to be happy no matter what he does.

    October 15, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. Stacie

    How is this news? The President sneezes and the Republicans criticize him. I think it says more about the Republicans than it does about President Obama. If they are so upset about the length of his stay, they should turn down all the federal funds that have gone to their state.

    October 15, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. Tanya Kujath

    Better than the flyby that our former "JOKE " of a President did!!!!!

    October 15, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. normajean

    The people of Louisiana are complaining about the wrong person. Your complaints should be spent on the Bush administration. President Obama cannot begin to keep up with his inhertited problems now, so you just have to throw more on him. HE'S DOING AS MUCH AS HE CAN, ASFAST AS HE CAN, SO GET OFF OF HIM.

    October 15, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. Reagan was wrong

    EVERYTHING and ANYTHING Obama does will be criticized by Republicans. We've seen this hundreds of times since Jan 20. If he eats a cupcake with red frosting, the GOP and FOX News will say he should've eaten one with blue frosting.

    Not news.

    October 15, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. Oh yeah, lots of change

    It's time for NOLA to grow up! You weren't the ONLY group that was hurt by Katrina or Rita or Ike. There are communities OUTSIDE of New Orleans that suffered and are still suffering, but because they aren't all whiny and complain how poorly they were treated to get sympathy, no one cares. So, those communities dust themselves off and rebuid without all the woe is me crap.

    October 15, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  22. simp

    Typical no matter what this man does or doesn't do these crazies come out and say he should have done someting. GWB ignored these people as they were dying, but just because the president is having a town hall and visting a charter school your clowns find something wrong with that. Yes he's only going to be there a few hours so what, arent they getting the money from the govt to help rebuild New Orleans? Give me a break and leave this man the hell alone.

    October 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  23. TangledThorns

    What took so long? Well, I'm glad Obama met his supporters in Europe and Egypt before his suffering countrymen...

    October 15, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. Buford Rose

    At least he is visiting. If the LA government would use the money that the President has sent maybe there would be no riff in his visit. The governor said he was going to refuse the money given to the state

    October 15, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  25. Jim

    based on the republican's past reactions to anything president obama does, we shouldn't be surprised they are making noises again.

    pathetic fools.

    they go on and on about how he should be doing work and when he does they complain about that.

    October 15, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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