Bush lauds recovery 10 years after Katrina

Former US president George W Bush returned to New Orleans to praise the region’s recovery on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

He was with students at Warren Easton Charter High School, the same school he visited on the first anniversary of the catastrophic storm.

He was accompanied by his wife, Laura, whose library foundation helped rebuild the oldest public school in New Orleans.

The two met with students at the school’s gymnasium, where he was also greeted by New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu and former Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco, who was in office during Hurricane Katrina.

The school’s success is one of the former president’s brighter moments in what was an extremely trying time for the Bush administration.

Mr Bush was vilified for his government’s lacklustre response.

A series of faux pas, from flying over flooded New Orleans first on Air Force One, to his “Heckuva job, Brownie” quip in support of the soon-to-be-dismissed director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Michael Brown, marred his personal record.

In New Orleans, Mr Bush and his team were pilloried by Louisianans and became a source of deep resentment and mockery.

He was displayed as an effigy at carnival displays for years after Katrina.

At Warren Easton, though, he could point to a success story.

“We have fond memories of his last visit,” said Arthur Hardy, a celebrity in New Orleans for his expertise in all things Mardi Gras and carnival, the city’s signature festivity.

Mr Hardy graduated from the high school in 1965.

He said Mr Bush helped the school come back and reopen after Katrina.

After New Orleans, the Bush family will visit Gulfport, Mississippi, to attend an event with state officials, including governor Phil Bryant and former governor Haley Barbour.

Mr Barbour was governor when Katrina hit and served as a staunch Bush ally.

The event in Mississippi will serve to thank first responders who helped after the hurricane.

The Gulf Coast and New Orleans are places to which Mr Bush is deeply tied, both as an eastern Texan familiar with the Gulf and as the president who inherited the Katrina disaster.

The bulk of the rebuilding fell to the Bush administration, which oversaw more than $140bn spending on the disaster, said his office.


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