President Obama is in for an earful, said Chris Kromm in Facing South, during his brief stop in New Orleans on Thursday. Obama promised to do better than George W. Bush did to help the Gulf Coast recover from Hurricane Katrina, but community organizers give the new president a D-plus grade so far. This is his "chance to disprove his critics here—to show that for him, Katrina wasn't just a campaign-trail political football."
The important thing isn't what Obama says in New Orleans, said Mary Carmichael in Newsweek. It's "what his administration actually does over the next three years for the Gulf Coast's population, especially its children, who are still suffering mightily." And, although Obama has had to focus on other priorities since taking office, his administration got a good start by freeing up $1 billion for recovery efforts in Louisiana alone "after years of bureaucratic haggling."
And what about the rest of the Gulf Coast? said Stan Tiner in the Biloxi, Miss., Sun-Herald. Barack Obama's decision to make a three-and-a-half-hour stop in New Orleans without visiting South Mississippi, too, only sends the message to the rest of us trying to recover from Katrina that we are invisible.