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. Fordy in Jamaica

    And if he had stayed too long, the critisizm would be: The country has too many pressing issued righ now for the president to be campaigning in New Orleans – These idiots are so transparent.

    October 15, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Oy Vey

    If President Obama were to magically produce a cure for cancer he'd be criticized.

    Maybe we should remember that it was the Rethuglicans and Bush who let The Big Easy languish.

    Criticize them !

    October 15, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. Marion

    Wait a second. The Republicans are criticizing Obama for the amount of time he'll be spending in New Orleans? If the Bush administration hadn't so completely screwed up the recovery effort, he wouldn't even need to go down to New Orleans.

    If President Obama helped an old lady cross the street, I'll bet some Republican somewhere would criticize him for holding up traffic.

    October 15, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. RDS

    So the while others are saying the administration is getting the ball moving..some republicans are criticizing ...SOUNDS ABOUT NORMAL. Ask them what they have done to help the problem..guarantee the answer will be NOTHING!

    October 15, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Tina

    "Obama will spend less than four hours in New Orleans "

    Of course, do you expect him to spend more time than that when he only want there for a photo op??

    He doesn't care aout NOLA nor what Katrina did to it. He only cares about his photo ops.

    I'll be so glad when we can vote this empty suit out in 2012.

    Obama – one and done!!!

    October 15, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. hal9000

    too bad there wasn't some democrat who needed a fundraiser down there, or President Obama would have visited sooner.

    He's travelled all over to do many fundraisers, but it takes him 9 months to visit New Orleans?

    October 15, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    You know, President Obama could cure cancer and establish peace in the Middle East, and Republicans would still find something to complain about.

    Republicans are just a bunch of sore losers!

    October 15, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. Senor Randolph Carter

    Ho hum. Obama waking up in the morning draws criticism. So many critics, so few solution proposers. have a nice day!

    October 15, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. marlene

    You site 76 project disputes resolved and 1.4 billion dollars of aid sent through the Obama administration. What has Rep. Steve Scalise, R – Louisiana or Sen. David Vitter- (R) done for their state? Oh, well – we know what Sen. Vitter has done in his state. Let who throw the first stone?

    October 15, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. Lisa P

    Wow! Republicans criticizing our not-a-Republican (thank God!) President. What a surprise. Not. These whiners need to look up the meaning of the word "democracy" and then they need to review the Bush administration's failed response to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. You lost for a reason, guys, and all your complaining won't change that fact. To the contrary: it just digs the hole deeper.

    October 15, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. Drew

    Why blame Obama when he was not in office. People if you want to blame someone Bush is your man. This President have enough on his plate and he is actually more visiable than Bush.

    October 15, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. Oh There's A Surprise--NOT

    Everything this president does draws critisim because the GOPers are green with envy. They still can't believe they lost.

    But I noticed Jindel was at the airport, just waiting for a photo opt with the president. They can't stand his guts, yet they fall all over him when he comes to town.

    Well, dream on Jindel because shaking President Obama's hand is the closest you will ever get to the presidency.

    October 15, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. Jessie

    Oh. My. God. Pure hypocrisy.

    I'm really praying that NO Republican is being critical of Pres. Obama, when Bush ate birthday cake with McCain while people drowned in New Orleans after Katrina. Bush didn't bother to get out of the plane, and recovery projects under Bush went to cronies and people owed political favors. FEMA was a joke, with former roofers and people with GED's running departments they were in no way qualified for.

    Of course, Diaper Dave was getting a fresh talcum when the Hurricane hit.

    October 15, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. Mac Texas

    One thing we cannot blame on Obama is the Katrina disaster!
    75 disputed projects in La. have been resolved since he took office and more funds appropriated. I'd think that would count more than an extended visit. Did you expect him to spend a week there?

    October 15, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. Nathan,

    How ironic is it that republicans are complaining that Obams is not spending enough tme in New Orleans when their President didn't even come off of vacation when a major US coty was being devastated. The hipocrisy of the republican party knows no end. Tell Vitter to chill. The brothels will eventually open up again.

    October 15, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. Jim

    Why this constrant drumbeat of criticism for whatever Pres. Obama does? He has enormous responsibilities and is dealing with such issues as health care, Afghanistan, energy, unemployment, financial regulation, etc. He knows perfectly well the situation he inherited from Bush along the Gulf Coast. The Corps of Engineers is doing a good job with rebuilding efforts.

    To use the famous phrase of former Vice President Spiro Agnew, Obama's critics are "nattering nabobs of negativity!"

    October 15, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
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