Obama remembers Katrina in New Orleans visit: 'The world watched in horror'

Barack Obama
(Image credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama traveled to New Orleans on Thursday to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which struck the city on Aug. 29, 2005. The president spoke before a crowd at a community center in the city's Lower Ninth Ward, which was decimated by the storm. "The world watched in horror," Obama said. "The music in the air suddenly was dark and silent."

Obama called Hurricane Katrina an example of what happens "when government fails," but praised the city's recovery as an "example of what's possible when governments [at every level] work together." He specifically noted areas in which New Orleans emerged from Hurricane Katrina stronger than before the storm, citing improved education statistics and new, advanced environmental infrastructure. "The project of rebuilding here wasn't just to restore the city as it had been — it was to build the city as it should be," Obama said.

He also congratulated New Orleans for being the first major city to end veteran homelessness, and credited the city with being the inspiration for a number of national accomplishments, such as improved jobs numbers, the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the legalization of gay marriage. The president did note that the city still has weaknesses, like the racial income gap and child poverty, but said working toward such advancements should be a collaborative effort. "For all of our differences, in the end, what matters is we're all in the same boat," he said. "We'll leave behind a city — and a nation — that's worthy of generations to come. That's what you've gotten started. Now we've got to finish the job."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Kimberly Alters

Kimberly Alters is the news editor at TheWeek.com. She is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.