President Obama is scheduled to visit New Orleans this Thursday,10/15. This will be his first official visit to the city since his inauguration. Scheduled events are a visit to one of the new New Orleans Public Charter Schools in the Lower Ninth Ward of the city. From there he will preside over a Town Hall meeting out at the University of New Orleans. Needless to say,this is a very big deal and very exciting for the city. As I mentioned in another thread,he has been criticized by some for not having visited the city sooner. But, senior staff members in his administration have made over 30 visits here since January! Will keep you updated on further details.
Actually, I think he's following me around It's hard to say,I don't really have plans to go to UNO,I have to work Thursday. And I think the 9th Ward visit is going to be limited attendance. Who knows,maybe he'll swing by Carrollton and have a beer at the Maple Leaf and check out some music. He would love Rebirth Brass Band. I believe he's scheduled to fly on to Houston from here and has a tight schedule. He needs to see the 9th Ward for sure.
I find myself wondering if there are any records of Obama's reaction when the Katrina tragedy occurred. I know that he will do the right thing, but I can't help wondering if he is just going through the motions as any good president should, or if the event truly touched him back when it happened.
Naturally, I was touched because I am from the region, so I also noticed how most people were concerned temporarily, just as they are concerned with any "tragedy of the month." Then the following month, they move on to the next event, often just as awful and tragic as what has gone before. Nobody can be moved by every single thing that happens.
I'm curious as well K. on this. The only thing that I can add to this is that I know Mr. and Mrs. Obama have a New Orleans "connection" with their dear friend of many,many years,Desiree Rogers,who serves as the White House Social Secretary and has been part of that Chicago power base for a long time. Seems that would personally have had some effect on how he genuinely felt.
The traffic this morning about 30 minutes ago was at a complete standstill coming into town from Metairie,an outlying suburb. Couldn't figure out why and then I realized ,so much for my thinking I was planning well my work day and avoiding early morning traffic.
Really, what does the presidential visit do? The costs of moving the president around would be better spent elsewhere. Surely we'd like to think that heads of state have reliable advisers to report to them on crisis-ridden regions. He is not going to the coast of Mississippi, for instance, which means that the visit is more about being seen than seeing.
“Bush was here a lot of times,” said Paul Rainwater, the executive director of the state-run Louisiana Recovery Authority, who praised the approach of the current administration over the previous one. “I would say it’s more important to have your cabinet secretaries down here.”
Unfortunately true, but there is always a need for symbolism and media attention to get certain things moving. It is just really a shame that New Orleans and the rest of the area still need that sort of thing.
So, did they bring out majorettes shaking their booties, or was it dignified?
Don't know. I may force myself to watch the evening news. Just in from work and heard some snippets of the town hall speech on the radio. Some rather inane questions posed I thought. Maybe" you had to be there "kind of thing. It does seem like such a big production,all the $$ spent like B. said,paralyze half or more of the city with traffic snarls,it's a bit much. And no matter what though, will be criticized as he already is for not going to Mississippi,not staying in NOLA and seeing more,etc.etc. C'mon already! Over the top. I'm glad he came but there's so many other things to do with that time and money.
I was not aware until just talking with some people that several key cabinet members came along as well,EPA,FEMA,HUD and did their own busy work appearing at the appropriate places. Coastal restoration and housing being huge issues. And the coastal restoration project's impact on the whole country naturally being a big priority. It was a worthwhile media event I suppose, if just symbolic as K. said. Results down the road will matter most.