Hurricane Katrina is now regarded as the worst natural disaster in US history.
One year on, most of the city's poor suburbs lie rotting. It's not a huge city, it's not even a large city by American standards. And yet, thousands of destroyed homes, tens of thousands of tons of rubbish and wreckage have still not been cleared away, and more than 80% of the money set aside for rebuilding has still not been allocated to those people who need it the most.
Bush gave a speech on Tuesday, in New Orleans, where he basically said "The check's in the mail...."
A selection of incoherent Bush babble from his current visit to the disaster zones :
"...I'm amazed by the opportunity, I'm amazed by the hope that I feel down here. Anyway, thought you would be interested."
"...you can't have hope unless there's a reason to be hopeful..."
"...this storm was so big it requires all aspects of American life to help the people. "
"...momentum will be gathered. Houses will begat jobs, jobs will begat houses. "
"People say, how can we rebuild with debris? Now it's gone."
The debris isn't gone, but Bush was carefully framed in most of his media appearances so no rubble was shown behind him.
The above quotes from this Bush press conference.
"To make sure that we keep our promises and to make sure this good area recovers, we have got to give assurance to the citizens that if there is another natural disaster, we'll respond in better fashion."
How could Bush Co's response been any worse than it was?
"A more hopeful New Orleans means we got to get rid of the broken furniture and old refrigerators, and get rid of the wreckage. You can't rebuild until you remove the rubble."
"The debris is getting cleaned."
There's still plenty of debris in New Orleans, but hey, at least it's "clean debris".--------------------
President Bush lost one of the most famous cities in the world one year ago this week. Infamously, he later claimed he was not aware of just how bad the devastation was, or just how horribly the people of New Orleans were suffering. Nobody told him. He wasn't watching the news.
Bush was too busy giving speeches, celebrating friends' birthdays and....playing guitar.
Two days after Hurricane Katrina smashed its way through three states, killing more than a thousand people, and plunging millions of Americans into a reality devoid of electricity, food, fresh water and organised federal government help, Bush found time to hang out with a country music star.
This will be long remembered as a key image of the Bush presidency. Millions of Americans were desperate for help and their president was too busy having a good time to even know what was going on.