Bush’s New Orleans speech released

Bush will be in New Orleans tomorrow and also in Orlando to speak to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. TheLA Times Countdown to Crawford blog reports:

Clearly, White House officials want the focus of the day to be the
formal remarks Bush is delivering to the veterans and the message he
will be sending to Russia about Georgia.

At the same time, they don’t want to suggest that Bush is giving the brush-off to New Orleans and other Gulf Coast regions.


So, in a step that avoids putting out dueling messages, the White
House, which rarely lifts the curtain on Bush speeches, let alone does
so 24 hours in advance, took the unusual step of distributing this
evening a text of the remarks he is planning to give in New Orleans
after the Orlando speech to the VFW.

Bush’s New Orleans speech on Gulf Coast Recovery is after the cut

For Immediate Release                  August 19, 2008




As Prepared for Delivery

on Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Good afternoon. I am pleased to be back in New Orleans. And I
appreciate the warm welcome to Jackson Barracks. This facility was
built by President Jackson in 1835 to protect the city of New Orleans.
Today, it houses brave men and women who share the same goal: the
members of the Louisiana National Guard. I thank all of you for your
fine service to your State, and to our Nation.

    Three years ago, this facility was completely flooded and
every building was damaged or destroyed. Today, Jackson Barracks is a
growing center of community and economic activity in the heart of the
Lower 9th Ward. The story of your recovery is impressive. And it is
the same story we see playing out across the Gulf Coast. Homes,
businesses, and schools are being rebuilt. Levees are being repaired.
Families and communities are being reconnected. And from Biloxi to
Beaumont, hope is being restored. The people here today have been an
important part of this effort and I thank you for your work.

Three years ago this month, Hurricane Katrina left one of America’s
most beloved cities almost completely underwater. The storm forced
800,000 people across the Gulf Coast to leave their homes. Never
before had our Nation seen nature’s destruction on such a vast scale.
And many wondered whether New Orleans could ever come back. 

Three years ago, I stood in Jackson Square and promised that New
Orleans would return. Since then, the American taxpayers have
committed more than 126 billion dollars for disaster response and
recovery on the Gulf Coast. Most of this money is already in the hands
of State and local governments and citizens working to rebuild.
Together, we are working to make sure that New Orleans comes back –
even stronger, safer, and more vibrant than it was before the storm.  

There is still a lot of work to do before this city is fully
recovered. And for people who are still hurting and not yet back in
their homes, a brighter day might seem impossible. Yet a brighter day
is coming and it is heralded by hopeful signs of progress.

We see hopeful signs of progress in our work to protect New Orleans
from future storms. The Army Corps of Engineers has repaired 220 miles
of the levees and the Corps is upgrading the floodwalls so that they
are stronger than before Katrina. Because of these efforts, we are on
track to meet our goal of 100-year flood protection by the year 2011.
To lift a heavy burden on the State’s finances, Governor Jindal
requested that Louisiana be allowed to pay the State’s share of the
levee improvement costs over 30 years, instead of only three and
earlier this month, I granted his request. With this action, we are
ensuring that Louisiana will not have to choose between rebuilding its
floodwalls, and completing the other projects that are vital to its

We see hopeful signs of progress as housing is restored.
Louisiana’s Road Home program has put nearly 7 billion dollars into the
hands of more than 115,000 homeowners. Federal dollars are increasing
affordable housing throughout New Orleans. As we rebuild, we are
moving away from a failed system of low-income housing projects, and
moving toward vibrant mixed-income communities. And each week,
hundreds of families are moving out of temporary housing and into
long-term homes. 

We see hopeful signs of progress in the growth of this area’s
economy. New Orleans sales tax revenues are at nearly 90 percent of
their pre-storm levels. The city saw 8,000 jobs created in just the
last year. The Port of New Orleans is a bustling center of commerce
and trade, and Louisiana’s exports now exceed pre-Katrina levels. The
Crescent City’s tourism industry is on the rebound, and New Orleans is
once again a premier destination for conferences and conventions. I
was proud to host the North American Leaders Summit here this spring
and it showed that New Orleans is getting back to business. 

We see hopeful signs of progress in the city’s improving health-care
system. The Department of Health and Human Services has provided more
than 2.6 billion dollars to care for the poor and uninsured, offer
mental-health services, and support primary-care clinics and
hospitals. The Federal government is helping to recruit doctors,
nurses, and other health professionals – making sure New Orleans will
have the people it needs to care for the city’s growing population.
And we are working with Governor Jindal to build a system of
community-based clinics that encourages good preventive care and eases
the strain on the city’s emergency rooms.

We see hopeful signs of progress in efforts to reduce crime.
Federal funds are giving local police and sheriffs essential equipment
like cars, computers, and radios. Federal agents are working the
streets alongside the New Orleans Police Department. Federal resources
are helping the NOPD rebuild its crime lab, and resolve its forensics
backlog. Violent crime remains a serious problem but together, we are
working to restore safety and justice to New Orleans.

We see hopeful signs of progress in the rebirth of New Orleans
education. Today, more than 80 public schools in the city have
reopened. About half are now charter schools that offer greater choice
and accountability. High schools that once struggled are being
transformed into promising career-oriented academies. Public, private,
and parochial schools are rebuilding their damaged libraries – thanks
to the amazing work Laura has done through her foundation. With help
from programs like Teach for America, New Orleans is now a magnet for
teachers – talented young people who are excited about helping the
city’s children find a brighter future. These changes are already
producing results: Test scores across the city have improved

We see hopeful signs of progress in the return of the normal rhythms
of life. More restaurants are now open in New Orleans than before the
storm. The Saints are about to start a new season in a refurbished
Superdome – with Deuce McAllister carrying the ball. From Our Lady of
Lourdes Shrine in Lacombe to Memorial Baptist Church in Metairie,
houses of worship are reopening their doors. Musicians are returning
this season to the Mahalia Jackson Theatre. And earlier this year, New
Orleans celebrated the return of another sweet sound: the rumble of
cable cars on St. Charles Street.

For all of these reasons, we can look with optimism toward the
bright future awaiting New Orleans. And the greatest reason for hope
is the people who are making this recovery possible. They include the
armies of compassion who came from across the country to volunteer more
than 14 million hours of service. They include the generous citizens
who donated more than 3.5 billion dollars to help their fellow
Americans in need.

They include people right here at Jackson Barracks – the
citizen-soldiers of the Louisiana National Guard. Even as your
headquarters was flooding, guardsmen collected boats, boarded
helicopters, fanned out across the city to help with search and rescue
and saved lives. Although some of your own homes were in ruins, you
worked first to help your neighbors in need. Today, guard members are
a vital part of the ongoing reconstruction. You are performing a great
service to your city, your State, and your Nation. And you have the
thanks of your fellow citizens – including your President.

The people responsible for this city’s recovery include the men and
women in this audience, and those seated behind me. These are some of
the people Laura and I have met with and been inspired by on our visits
to the Gulf Coast. And these are people who show that there is a power
far stronger than wind and waves – the determination of the citizens of
New Orleans. 

I am inspired by people like Daryn Dodson, who I met at a dinner
here last year. Daryn was studying at Stanford Business School when
Katrina struck and felt called to come to New Orleans to help. He
joined Idea Village – a program to support the city’s entrepreneurs and
stimulate economic growth. Through Idea Village, Daryn has brought
other MBA students from the Nation’s top schools to help solve some of
the greatest business challenges facing the city and to help spread the
entrepreneurial spirit. 

I am inspired by people like Leah Chase. Leah’s restaurant, Dooky
Chase, has been a New Orleans institution for several decades. But
when Katrina struck, the floodwaters left Leah’s entire restaurant in
ruins. She saw her whole life washed away in a few moments, and didn’t
know where she’d find the strength to go on. She found it in her
faith, family, neighbors, friends, and even total strangers. Here in
New Orleans, the community held fundraisers to help Leah rebuild.
High-school students from all over the country spent their spring
breaks helping to gut and rebuild the restaurant. A group of friends
in Indiana donated new chairs for her dining room. Today, Dooky Chase
is open for business. 

I am inspired by people like Doris Hicks. Doris is the principal of
the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School for Science and
Technology here in the Lower 9th Ward. Laura and I had a chance to
visit the school last year. After Katrina, the flooding at MLK was so
bad that when the waters finally receded, fish were found on the
school’s second floor. Doris was told that she couldn’t reopen until
2010 but she knew the kids couldn’t wait that long. Doris mobilized
parents, teachers, and the entire community. She agreed to turn the
school into a charter. MLK is open today, and families are moving to
the community just so they can return to the school. Doris puts it
this way: “There’s no other place like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and
there’s no other place like New Orleans.” 

There is no other place like New Orleans. Every time I have come to
this city, I have been inspired by its extraordinary character. Only
here does a stay-at-home mom mobilize her neighbors to clear thousands
of tons of debris. Only here does a barber set up shop at the gas
station to cut hair for National Guardsmen. Only here do restaurant
workers rush to clean up their flooded café so they can serve hot red
beans and rice to first responders, construction crews, and returning
evacuees. In countless quiet acts, New Orleans has shown that the
cruelty of a storm is no match for the kindness of a strong community.
This is why New Orleans is coming back and this is why it will continue
to come back better than ever before. May God bless you, may God bless
your great city, and may God bless America.

LINK (scroll down)

9 thoughts on “Bush’s New Orleans speech released

  1. so where is our veterans hospital?
    less speeches more action please.
    and while your at it sir , i got a tooth about to fall out of my mouth and i have insurance and i have no where to go.
    thank you for making it right sir.

  2. Ok, now that we know the text of Chimpy’s speech it’ll be fun to compare and contrast the text with his spoken words. Can’t wait to see how badly he mangles this one!

  3. How generous–he “gives” us thirty years instead of three to pay for rebuilding federal levees that shouldn’t have failed in the first place (and which are being rebuilt to absurdly low standards), while shoveling money hand over fist to companies connected to Dick. Cheney.
    Thanks, asshole–too bad the door doesn’t smack you good and hard on the way out.

  4. I think a pot of forgotten red beans and rice that are nice and RIPE flung serving spoonful by serving spoonful at his revolting mug would be minorly satisfying.

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