Gulf Marks Two Years Since Katrina; Bush There

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - It was two years ago today that Hurricane
Katrina battered Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, killing hundreds of
people and exposing weaknesses in the government's ability to cope
with the disaster.

President Bush and Mrs. Bush are there today to mark the moment.
It's the president's 15th trip to the region since Katrina struck.

Today Bush and his wife plan to visit a New Orleans charter
school and a community center down the Gulf Coast in Mississippi.

Two years after the storm, there has been progress. New Orleans'
population continues to grow and sales tax revenues are approaching
normal.

But huge areas of the city remain in shambles. Bureaucracy is
choking federal and state assistance, which hasn't helped redeem
the federal government from it's dismal performance in the storm's
immediate aftermath.

Bush's Gulf Coast rebuilding chief says 96 billion aid dollars
have been disbursed or are available to local governments, implying
the fault lies with local officials.

The storm killed more than 1,600 people along the Gulf Coast and
flooded nearly 80 percent of New Orleans.


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