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Homeland Security

Bush Marks Hurricane Katrina Anniversary with Visit to New Orleans

29 August 2007

President Bush says the government is still paying attention to New Orleans and the surrounding Gulf Coast region, which continues struggling to rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina two years ago Wednesday.

In remarks at a charter school in New Orleans, Mr. Bush said officials are focused on improving the system of levies whose failure caused most of New Orleans to flood. He said other priorities are better law enforcement, restoration of wetlands, and education - something Mr. Bush said is the key to change for the area.

President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush will take part in a memorial service for the hurricane's victims before moving on to neighboring Mississippi to inspect rebuilding efforts there.

The Bush administration has been heavily criticized for a slow response to the Katrina crisis. Many homes in the damaged areas still have not been rebuilt. The population of New Orleans is only about 60 percent of what it was before the storm struck on August 29, 2005.

More than 1800 people in the region were killed as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

The president and Mrs. Bush arrived in New Orleans Tuesday, and were joined for dinner at landmark restaurant, Dooky Chase by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and several other local, state and federal officials.

The Bushes are due to return to Washington later Wednesday.

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