August 29th, 2010
03:58 PM ET
4 years ago

Marking Katrina anniversary, Obama praises New Orleans' resilience

ALT TEXT President Obama praised the resilience of New Orleans residents on Sunday, exactly five years after Hurricane Katrina wiped out the city. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)

New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) – Calling the federal response to Hurricane Katrina "a shameful breakdown in government," President Barack Obama said Sunday as rebuilding continues, officials are looking ahead to avoid a repeat when future disasters strike.

Speaking at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans to mark the fifth anniversary of Katrina, Obama said construction of a fortified levee system to protect the city is underway and will be finished by next year, "We should not be playing Russian roulette every hurricane season," he said.

"There is no need to dwell on what you experienced and what the world witnessed," the president said, speaking to a crowd that included current New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and members of Louisiana's Congressional delegation.

"We all remember it keenly - water pouring through broken levees; mothers holding their children above the waterline; people stranded on rooftops begging for help; and bodies lying in the streets of a great American city," Obama said. "It was a natural disaster but also a man-made catastrophe; a shameful breakdown in government that left countless men and women and children abandoned and alone."

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Filed under: New Orleans • President Obama
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. John N.C.

    A poll showed that Bush's response to Katrina was better than Obama's response to the oil spill.

    August 29, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. jim

    Obama does what he does best,talk,talk and more talk.However, actions speak louder than words so it really doesn't matter hoe often he goes to New Orleans.

    August 29, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    "Heckuva' job Brownie!" cried the clueless inept former president.

    August 29, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. Orlando Patriot

    What a corrupt, classless, and incompetent president we have that would even take a disaster like Katrina and use it as a political stab at the Republican Party and George W. Bush. There was breakdowns at every level of government (city, state, and federal) and we can argue all day long who was MORE responsible but for a president to use the opportunity to stab Republicans just shows what a classless individual Barack Hussein Obama is.

    Why couldn't he simply mark the anniversary and talk about the many things that have been done up until now? Give credit for what the Bush administration ulitmately did and what the Obama administration has done to this point? Why can't we have a president that looks forward rather than look back? A driver of a car who ONLY looks in his rearview mirror (and does not look forward) is destined to have horrible results.

    That is what Obama is doing now. By ONLY focusing on what has happened in the past and not realizing (or caring?) what is happening now and in the near future shows how incompetent Obama is. This Bush blame game has run its course and now most people have awoken realizing the catastrophic damage they have created by electing this corrupt and useless president. November is only a few months away and I am enjoying watching the fear in every Democrat:)!!

    August 29, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    3,000+ Americans lost their lives during Katrina which is no comparison to an oil spilling in the Gulf. But let's not forget the men who died in the rig explosion that was due to man-made negligence.

    August 29, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. La Piovra

    Please take a look at the roots of "invidious": to refuse to see. Let us be plain: certain of our corresponents refuse to see anything but the President's color, and all else (unAmericanism, unChristianism, socialism, maybe cannibalism) follows, though they will deny it, while smirking behind their hands, to their lying breaths. For the record, I am white, straight, old, and live in the rural South, with Brer Rooster, Brer Fox, Brer Hounddog, and Brer Shotgun.

    August 29, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. mj

    Obama will take credit whenever and wherever he gets the chance. Now claiming that bringing home the Troops was his "plan". No so, Bush put the orders in place. Does he have no shame?

    August 29, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. jules sand-perkins

    I am SO sick of hearing about this major loser of a president!
    Tuesday night's teleprompter reading would be an excellent opportunity for President Obama to promise us something good: that he will not run again.

    August 29, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. Soap

    Hey, they sent 500 to 700 buses down there and all the residents had to do was get on them and be taken to safety free of charge. Instead, they would not get on them because they did not arrive at their front door and the buses ended up under water. Claudia in Houston, I do not know where you got 3,000 people unless you made it up which is typical of liberals.

    August 29, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. vic

    Comparing hurricane Katrina to Oil spill there is basic difference We knew when where Hurricane is landing 24 hrs before even though rescue effort failed Oil spill totally opposite best part of oil spill republicans doesn’t want take any action against BP
    But they apologize to BP

    August 29, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  11. all of America

    Who is this idiot to call the katrina response a "a shameful breakdown in government," He needs to look at his administration , the gulf oil spill,the health care bill,financial reform bill, These are all major disasters !Moron obama needs to keep his mouth shut,he sounds like a crap salesman with a mouth full of samples.

    August 29, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  12. Brian from NJ

    What a classless jerk we have occupying the WH these days... in one breath this guy says there is no need to dwell on what happened in the past and then says "We all remember it keenly – water pouring through broken levees; mothers holding their children above the waterline; people stranded on rooftops begging for help; and bodies lying in the streets of a great American city," Completely and utterly classless...

    August 29, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  13. Barry

    Why continue to attack Bush? That strategy isn't working. It may make the leftist in our party happy but that isn't going to help us in November. It turns the independents against us. President Obama needs to help our struggling November House and Senate candidates by talking about what his plan for the future. continuing to focus on the past with the blame Bush thought process may help him keep the left side of our party but isn't going to help us keep the Senate, at this point it is not likely we can keep the house. He may feel this is good for him making the "Professional Left" happy but it isn't good for our chances in November and that isn't good for our country.

    August 29, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  14. Debby

    Well Obama you could have made it better to back then with FEMA. We didn't see you run down there either while you were in the Senate. What a moronic statement by a President.

    August 29, 2010 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  15. New Orleans resident

    I laughed when he took credit for the oil leak being stopped, as if he actually did something. Governor Jindal and Plaquemines Parish Billy Nungesser were the real heroes whose tireless efforts helped to fight for Louisiana's gulf coast and marshes. And often times, they told everyone on national TV that the responses to their requests were slow and held up by the federal government. The federal government does not deserve any credit for any positive results in combating the oil spill or Katrina. New Orleans and the coastal areas bounced back because of their own resilience and spirit. The city didn't need another photo op and a speech full of the usual "rah, rah", and blaming others. The government needs to fix itself first since it was government officials in charge of inspections who failed to properly inspect the rigs and ensure the integrity and safety of those oil rigs.

    August 29, 2010 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  16. Marcus

    Orlando Patriot – 'classless'? HE? And not you? Dude, do you know those political cartoons and charges in the papers and websites? You have just remind me of some of those I saw right in the first days of the Katrina disaster. They blamed the city for having being built under the sea level, not the dams nor the blatant shared incompetence of the local/state/federal governments...
    They blamed the city for the disaster... THAT was classless.

    August 29, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  17. Karen

    Talk and campaign – that's his game.

    August 29, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  18. Tinkers Dam

    They knew it would be bad. They were warned to get out......several times. School buses were offered for evacs.....and turned down by Nagin. These idiots that decided to "ride it out" got what they were looking for.....A disaster. Bush did a much better job with Katrina than the blowhard Obamatard has done with anything he has touched.

    August 29, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  19. JonDie

    Lost in all the fifth anniversary stories about Katrina and the Tea Party rally is one important fact: The Republicans under Bush deliberately dismantled FEMA (including putting it under a horse trader) in order to destroy Americans' confidence in the government; the hurricane wasn't Bush's fault but the pathetic response to the hurricane was murderous. And under the Republican-Tea Party there would be no FEMA...because the Tea Party doesn't believe the government should do anything the Founding Fathers didn't authorize in 1776. If the next "Katrina" hits, tens of thousands will die.

    August 29, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  20. Lib Hunter

    It's ok, Imam Hussein Barrack Bin Biden Obama is about to become the earliest lame duck president in the history of the United States, in what will go down in history as the biggest rejection of any political party/ideology (Liberalism) in the history of midterm elections. If Imam Obama is lucky enough to make it to 2012 without being impeached first it would be amazing, but if he happens to make it to 2012, he will lose re-election by a margin so large that it will be historic. Funny, Imam Obamas election was considered historic, his total fail will be even more historic. LOL. Oh, and he could discuss Katrina with a straight face after his total failure of reaction on the oil spill is disgusting. Personally I think he is a bit of a sociopath, but thats just an opinion. LOL LOL LOL

    August 29, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. Kevin

    Yeah Orlando, spoken like a true patriot. The fact that you're OD'ing on the Beck, Limbaugh, Palin Kool-Aid is showing. "The Bush blame game has run it's course"? I know how you feel, I keep hearing about how Clinton, et al did this that and the other thing. Beck even goes so far as to blame Woodrow Wilson, for most of our current ills.
    I'll say you're right about one thing, I am afraid. If these corrupt, mega-rich, beholden to corporate America loonies get control, America as we've know it, is finished. For the life of me, I'll never understand how anyone who is not at least a multi-millionaire, can support any of these clowns. How about your boy Limbaugh forking out a million bucks for Elton John to play at his wedding? That's your typical American wedding, huh?
    All I can say is that I'm going to take little comfort in knowing I was on the right side when we're all standing in bread lines.

    August 29, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  22. Albo58

    Sort of like this administration's non-action during the first couple of weeks of the BP oil leak? Furthermore, before we barf from too much "Bush's fault" campaign speeches, do note that the then governor of Louisianna and the very inept Mayor of New Orleans were absolutely culpable in the delay of government aid/rescue in the days before/after Katrina, but are NEVER mentioned by the Dimwits or this President when he starts chunking rocks in a glass house!

    August 29, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  23. Russell N.C.

    How can Obama talk like that?. It took 58 days for him to talk to the BP people.

    August 29, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  24. marine0311

    Obama should simply announce that the government will not provide aid to anyone that builds or continues to live below sea level....

    August 29, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  25. Dan

    Thank goodness they are finally realizing the importance of the marshland to the region.

    The marshland is vital to protecting New Orleans from the waves during hurricanes.

    August 29, 2010 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |