Monday, 03 September 2012 20:17

Obama in Louisiana for Isaac says do it right or I'll get mad

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obama-smileAir Force One touched down at Louis Armstrong about 4:20 p.m. Monday. President Barack Obama, in southeast Louisiana to meet with officials and tour damage in St. John the Baptist Parish, was met on the tarmac by Gov. Bobby Jindal, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Sen. Mary Landrieu, Sen. David Vitter, Reps. Cedric Richmond and Jeff Landry and FEMA Director Craig Fugate, who has been at GOSHEP in Baton Rouge for several days.



All then headed out to LaPlace.

Kenner residents lined the streets out of the airport to watch the motorcade and residents in LaPlace stood on 3188 to watch and wave. A crowd of dozens cheered 'We want the president' as the motorcade drew near the St.  John the Baptist Parish EOC in the Percy C. Hebert.

After about 45 minutes in the EOC, Obama and other officials, now joined by St. John the Baptist Sheriff Mike Tregre and Parish President Natalie Robottom, traveled to the Ridgewood subdivision in LaPlace. (Note: Plaquemines Parish Pres. Billy Nunngesser was also in the EOC meeting but did not travel to Ridgewood).

Ridgewood drive was lined with debris that had been thrown out of houses, including furniture, appliances, carpeting and construction debris. Many piles were spray-painted with "do not take." There was a smell of rotting material in the air and many of the piles stretched along the entire line of the property they were on and were waist-high.

As he started down the street, Obama called out to an unidentified resident and asked, "How's it going?"

The reply, "Better."

"I know its a mess, but we just wanted to come by to let you know that we know its a mess."

Obama stopped at each house on the streets to talk with residents, though largely out of earshot of reporters. Residents told him of being rescued in boats and of their homes taking on water when they never had before.

All seemed happy to see and talk with Obama.

At various points during Obama's walk down the block, Mayor Landrieu, Sen. Landrieu, Rep. Richmond, Sheriff Tregre and Gov. Jindal all held cameras to take pictures for residents who wanted to pose with the president.

"We're going to make them do right, otherwise I'm going to get mad at them," Obama said to one group, after discussing ongoing efforts of federal agencies.

In a statement at a podium set up at the intersection of Indigo and Ridgewood, Obama commended the efforts of first responders and the resilience of the people on the gulf coast. He also praised the collaboration between state and federal authorities during Hurricane Isaac, something he said has not always been true in the past.

Obama emphasized that the federal levee system in the New Orleans area performed as it was supposed to and pledged that the government would work to determine why some areas, like LaPlace, have seen dramatically greater flooding this week than in past storms.

"We're going to make sure at the federal level we're getting on the case to figure out what happened here and what we can do to make sure it won't happen again," Obama said.

A media pool report, by Jeff Addison of the Times Picayune 




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