Bush praises New Orleans 'resilience' after Katrina
Former president George W. Bush, who faced fierce criticism for the botched government response to Hurricane Katrina, returned to New Orleans Friday to mark the storm's 10th anniversary by celebrating the US city's "resilience", AFP reports.
"The darkness of a decade ago has lifted," Bush told a crowd gathered in a high school auditorium.
"The Crescent City has risen again and its best days lie ahead."
Bush did not address the federal government's failure to adequately maintain the city's poorly-built levees, which burst under the pressure of Katrina's massive storm surge and flooded 80 percent of New Orleans.
Nor did he acknowledge the failure of state, local and federal agencies to adequately prepare for the storm or the fact that it took four days for supply trucks with food and water to reach tens of thousands of people who sought shelter at the city's convention center and on the freeways.
"All of us who are old enough to remember will never forget the images of our fellow Americans amid a sea of misery and ruin," Bush said.
"We'll always remember the lives lost across the Gulf Coast. Their memories are in our hearts and I hope you pray for their families."
More than 1,800 people were killed across the US Gulf Coast when Katrina struck on August 29, 2005 and a million were displaced.
While Hurricane Katrina is "a story of loss beyond measure," Bush said it is also "a story of commitment and compassion."
"I hope you remember what I remember, the thousands who came here on a volunteer basis to provide food for the hungry and to help find shelter for those who had no home to live in."
Bush said he was moved by the city's determination to "rebuild better than before" and "a spirit much stronger than any storm."
"We honor the resilience of a great American city whose levees gave out but whose people never gave up," Bush said.
"On this anniversary, the work of making a stronger and more hopeful New Orleans goes on. You've achieved a lot over the last 10 years and with belief in success and a faith in God, New Orleans will achieve even more."