New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) - U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu will hold a late-morning hearing Thursday about the lessons learned and the progress made in the five years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and large sections of the Gulf coast.
The hearing in Chalmette, Louisiana, will highlight the continuing challenges facing the state.
On Wednesday, Landrieu announced that Washington will award $1.8 billion to schools in New Orleans.
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) - Before a cheering crowd at a town hall meeting in New Orleans, President Obama fired back at critics who accuse him of accomplishing little in his nine months in office, saying "I'm just getting started."
"I never thought any of this was going to be easy," said Obama, speaking at the University of New Orleans in his first visit to the Gulf Coast city since taking office. He poked fun at his critics, asking, "Why haven't you solved world hunger yet? It's been nine months. Why?"
"What'd I say during the campaign? I said change is hard," Obama said. "Big change is harder. ... I wasn't kidding about it being hard."
"Those folks who are trying to stand in the way of progress ... let me tell you, I'm just getting started," he said. "I don't quit. I'm not tired. I'm just getting started."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A prominent Democrat who is also a Louisiana native said Sunday he was somewhat offended that President Obama has yet to pay a visit to New Orleans, a city trying to rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina four years ago.
“I’m a Democrat and this is a Democratic president. I would describe myself as slightly miffed that he hasn’t been down yet,” Democratic strategist and longtime Clinton ally James Carville said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “but he says he’s coming down before the end of the year. And we’re hospitable people and we certainly will welcome him.”
Carville and his wife Mary Matalin, a Republican strategist and former Dick Cheney aide, moved their family to New Orleans in mid-2008.
“I can honestly say, . . . you can start to feel the progress now,” Carville said of the legendary city’s efforts to rebuild. “It’s a work in progress but there has been progress. I promise you that,” Carville also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
Carville’s words were echoed by one of the Louisiana’s senators, Democrat Mary Landrieu.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
(CNN) –- Actor and sustainable housing advocate Brad Pitt brought his pitch to the nation’s capital Thursday, meeting with President Obama at the White House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill.
Watch: Brad Pitt visits Capitol Hill
After a brief stop by the executive mansion to meet with the president and his climate czar, Pitt met with Pelosi in her Capitol office to share details of his charity housing efforts in New Orleans.
One thing’s for sure: policy conferences on the Hill don’t usually pull out a crowd like this.
A throng of giggling fans, mostly female, gathered to catch a glimpse of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" star as he posed for pictures following their meeting.
Pelosi hailed Pitt’s work for the city of New Orleans as a “model for the nation.”
“It really is an honor to have him here and I know for some of my staff, and for bragging rights for my children and grandchildren, a real treat for me as well,” she said.
Pelosi, posing with Pitt and South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn at the congressional photo-op following their meeting, said the actor had been telling her about how the homes his foundation has built built to a "green standard," with utility bills of less than $10 a month.
"It's possible," said Pitt.
The actor’s foundation, "Make it Right," works to construct sustainable housing for low-income residents in New Orleans who lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina. Launched in 2007, Pitt's project focuses on NOLA's Lower Ninth Ward, a region ravaged by the 2005 hurricane. Pitt shares a home in the French Quarter with his girlfriend, actress Angelina Jolie.
“I just want to say thank you to the Speaker for opening up the doors for us to come in and discuss the rebuilding efforts, the current rebuilding efforts going on in New Orleans, and to how we can expand this idea of affordability and sustainability which we think we have a model that works," Pitt said, amid a flurry of camera flashes.
Pitt’s companion Angelina Jolie was also in Washington Thursday, shooting scenes for her upcoming film, “Salt.”