February 20th, 2009
12:21 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama extends aid for Gulf Coast

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/20/art.getty.obama.walking.jpg caption="The president is extending the operations of a federal office tasked with overseeing reconstruction efforts along the Gulf Coast."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama will send two Cabinet officials to the Gulf Coast next month to assess progress in rebuilding the region that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, the White House announced Friday.

The president is also extending the operations of a federal office tasked with overseeing reconstruction efforts along the Gulf Coast. Obama signed an executive order keeping the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding open through Sept. 30, 2009. It was initially scheduled to close at the end of this month.

“The residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast who are helping rebuild are heroes who believe in their communities and they are succeeding despite the fact that they have not always received the support they deserve from the Federal government,” Obama said in a statement. “This executive order is a first step of a sustained commitment by my Administration to rebuild now, stronger than ever.”

The office was established by former President Bush in November 2005.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan will head to the region on March 5 and 6.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (197 Responses)
  1. Carla

    There has been 176 billion dollars poured in by the Fed Gov't not to mention all the money raised by celebrities. There were many other areas in the Gulf Coast damaged to the same extent and most of those have been rebuilt by the citizens that live there. We never hear about the rebuilding in MS or other areas no it is always aboaut NO.
    Where I live the Mayor is responsible along with other city board members in rebuilding and giving out funds at least that how it was here in FL after Charlie and we were hit hard also.
    Stop blaming Bush for every last thing like the housing mess we are in now people need to start taking personal responsibility other wise we will be under the gov'ts thumb.

    February 20, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  2. Larry

    Democrats think the word" caring" means to give up more tax payers money,how about "fixing the problem"???

    February 20, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. Mississippi Born and Raised

    I am glad President Obama is looking past politics and extending a hand to a heavy republican area which is on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We still need help down in this part of the country.

    February 20, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  4. Gene

    Well.. I HOPE this program was initially started by Bush... seeing in how this Hurricane happened 4 YEARS ago. If it wasn't started by Bush, Bush would deserve a lashing, let alone an impeachment. There are many people in history that make existing products and programs BETTER. Give credit where credit is due.

    February 20, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. PJH

    I'm not a Bush fan but I have to agree with RJ. This is not something President Obama just decided to set up, it's a continuing program. I get tired of people not reading the whole story.

    February 20, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. Roy Rustomji

    Its high time somebody corrected the problem left behind by Republicans.

    February 20, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Larry

    TO: RJ

    All he did was add another 7 months to the EXISTING program, he's not expanding it or adding additional funds to it.
    If the bank added 7 more months to your car payment or anything else that you might owe,I assure you ,you would" know" that they were adding additional payments,and you would be paying additional funds.

    February 20, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Pat in Florida

    If the homes and businesses haven't been rebuilt, the owners probably didn't carry proper insurance. We have recovered from property damage on our beachfront property here in Florida by filing claims with our hurricane insurance carrier. New Orleans is below sea level so the residents should have carried the proper insurance. Why should the taxpayers borrow more $$ for this bailout? All Obama wants to do is fly around in his private jet at taxpaper expense to give away money that the government doesn't have.

    February 20, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. Melissa

    Good. Three years and the damage to this wonderful city is still palpable. Still something you can see and touch.

    Yes, people need to take responsibility for their own homes. The thing is, you people don't understand. There's no "just leave the buildings there to rot". There's a black mold in this area that kills. It infests buildings that have been left wet and uncared for for too long.

    And alot of those buildings damaged by the hurricane need to be torn down because they are unlivable. For safety's sake. Those buildings can't be left like that. They need to be destroyed.

    And that takes money that the local government doesn't have. Heck, the government doesn't even have the money to adequately remove the trash from the FQ during Mardi Gras.

    The help is needed. Whether you people from far away who have never been here and can't possibly know what its like think it does or not.

    February 20, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. DrGonzo

    Good Job Obama!
    Hey Matt..Lets move the people out of Kentucky because every decade they get an ice storm.
    Or better yet Tornado Alley..What's the matter with those people living in those areas! That's what 5 or 6 states
    And don't forget to evacuate Cali..Ya know the earthquakes and everything.
    Minus well move everyone out of the northeast too we get snow alot.
    FLA gets hurricanes!
    Where do you suppose we move the entire population of America!

    February 20, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  11. BJ

    New Orleans will be hit by another hurricane and people will again lose their homes and businesses.

    How many times will the US Government be forced to rebuild homes built BELOW sea level?

    February 20, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. LCinTexas

    More needs to be done to rebuild the gulf coast. It has been 3 years and more should have been done by now. The levee system needs to be strengthened first and all those mold infested buildings need to be torn down. How are people supposd to come back and "help themselves" if they have no where to come back to? Whole neighborhoods still look like they did after Katrina came through in 2005. Shame on GWB for leaving this mess behind........

    February 20, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  13. Kevin

    One month in to office, and he is off to a good start. Now, President Obama is looking into fixing the "Big Easy", which, from the looks of things, HAVEN"T BEEN EASY AT ALL.


    February 20, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. Felicia

    Bj for your idiotic comment is beside me, so what your saying is that the city of New Orleans doesn't deserve the help.

    I really realize that white people is the most evilist people around, you people are terrible people. I'm just blown away by you people's hatred.


    February 20, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  15. thomas

    Extreme Makeover: American Edition. Barak arrives to find a nation crumbling and decaying from neglect, abuse, and devastation. But just as they're about to begin construction, the neighbors start screaming at him." What about me?" they cry, "what are you going to do for me?"

    February 20, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. P. Y.

    Another mess that President Obama has been left with. Most of the help that the Guld Coast has been getting has been due to private citizens and groups. Lets be honest here and tell it like it REALLY is. Not how the Repugs want us to believe it is.
    Good luck to the Gulf Coast and also to President Obama.

    BTW-Good note Dr. Gonzo

    February 20, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  17. Ken

    I think that it is time to stop pouring taxpayers money into a city that is sitting below sea level and move the city to higher ground.


    February 20, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  18. MN Voter

    President Obama trying to clean up another Bush administration mess. God Bless President Obama - he is doing a fantastic job! Look how many Bush messes he has addressed in a mere 30 days - the economy, ethics and transparency in government, foreign relations and now helping Katrina victims.

    February 20, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  19. marcus

    we need to rebuild the Gulf-- so that it can be destroyed again in the next hurricane.

    Hear the flusing sound America? That's your childrens future going down the toilet.

    February 20, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. Meka

    Thank you President Obama. The Citizen's in the Gulf . . . deserve MUCH MORE than what they've received.

    How can America Preach to other Nation's . . . when we FALL SHORT in protecting/providing for our own!


    February 20, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  21. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    Actually the republicans are indirectly telling him what needs to be done. It must be a serious enough to send Janet Napolitano to the gulf coast where the possiblity finding of uninvited guests. Every move is noted thank you very much. And will be thrown right back at the Democrats come election time. Its the republicans who brought it to their attention will continue to do so until he thrown out of office.

    February 20, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  22. Virginia

    I'm so glad to hear this!!! It's about time!!! Bush's handling of the Katrina disaster was a failure from the first day, not saving the people, not getting food and water in, by supplying trailers that were poisoned with formaldahide, and other trailers that were never delivered to New Orleans and still are parked somewhere.

    Remember the hurricane (Edward?) that destroyed southern Florida during George H W Bush's presidency? Very little or nothing was done during his term.
    It took Pres Clinton to send the necessary dollars and folks down there to help clean up the terrible mess with the citizens.

    However, after the terrible Northridge earthquake, Clinton put Al Gore in charge immediately and, by the wise planning and incentives to construction folks for finishing early, the area, including all the destroyed freeways, overpasses, etc was back in no time.

    Hurray for Democrats that care about all the prople!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 20, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
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