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Three Years After Katrina, No Easy Road to Recovery for New Orleans

As the three year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina draws near, President Bush visited New Orleans Wednesday, saying in a speech that he sees "signs of progress" in the still-recovering city. Times-Picayune editor Jim Amoss reflects on the upcoming anniversary.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    With his 17th visit to the Gulf Coast today, President Bush marked the upcoming three-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's devastation. He spoke at the Jackson Barracks in New Orleans, the headquarters of the Louisiana National Guard.

    GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States: And there is no other place like New Orleans and its surrounding parishes.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The 100-acre military base straddles the two parishes hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina, Orleans and St. Bernard. The storm caused levees and flood walls to fail and left 85 percent of the city underwater. More than 1,500 people died.

  • GEORGE W. BUSH:

    I have seen people when their spirits were at a low ebb, but never did they give up. And now I've seen the incredible progress that's being made. There's still work to be done.

    I predicted that New Orleans would come back as a stronger and better city. That's a prediction I made, and I also pledged that we'd help. And $126 billion later, three years after the storm, we've helped deliver $126 billion of U.S. taxpayer money.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    More than 450,000 people lived in New Orleans before the storm hit. City officials estimate about 300,000 live there now.

  • GEORGE W. BUSH:

    Federal dollars are increasing affordable housing throughout New Orleans. And as we rebuild, the strategy is not to repeat the mistakes of the past, but to move toward a vibrant, mixed-income neighborhood system. Each week, hundreds of families are moving out of their temporary housing and they're heading into permanent, long-term structures. And that's hopeful.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    In the three years since, levees have been re-built and schools have re-opened. The city has even opened the door to dozens of charter schools to re-invigorate the system.

  • GEORGE W. BUSH:

    High schools that once struggled are being transformed into career-oriented academies. In other words, there's a lot of innovation here in New Orleans. Rather than repeat mistakes of the past, people said, "Let's come together. Let's innovate."

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