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President Bush Delivers State of the Union Address

“Tonight the armies of compassion continue the march to a new day in the Gulf Coast. America honors the strength and resilience of the people of this region. We reaffirm our pledge to help them build stronger and better than before. And tonight I'm pleased to announce that in April we will host this year's North American Summit of Canada, Mexico, and the United States in the great city of New Orleans.”

-- President George W. Bush, January 28, 2008

Full Transcript

Fact Sheet: The Two-Year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina
The Federal Government Is Fulfilling Its Commitment To Help The People Of The Gulf Coast Rebuild

On August 29, 2007, President And Mrs. Bush Visited Louisiana And Mississippi To Review These States' Progress In Rebuilding From The Unprecedented Devastation Of Hurricane Katrina.

  • Louisiana:The previous night, President and Mrs. Bush had dinner with cultural and community leaders at Dooky Chase, a famous New Orleans restaurant that has been closed since Hurricane Katrina but is scheduled to reopen in a couple of weeks. This morning, they will visit Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Charter School for Science and Technology, the first public school to reopen in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward, where they will meet with Louisiana education officials. They will remain at the school for a moment of silence to mourn the lives lost during Hurricane Katrina.
  • Mississippi: In Mississippi, the President and Mrs. Bush were briefed by State and local elected officials and community leaders on rebuilding efforts. The President then made a statement in front of the U.S. 90 Bridge between Bay Saint Louis and Pass Christian, Mississippi. This bridge was completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, but two lanes of the bridge were opened to traffic in May 2007, and the project is scheduled for completion in late January 2008.

The Federal Government Is Meeting Its Commitment To Assist Gulf States In Their Rebuilding Efforts

The Federal Government Has Provided More Than $114 Billion In Resources – $127 Billion Including Tax Relief – To The Gulf Region.

  • Over $96 Billion Of The $114 Billion (84 Percent) Either Has Been Disbursed Or Is Available For States To Draw From. The Federal government plans to obligate every dollar – the funds are there and ready to be used, and we are working with State and local leaders to help them take advantage of the remainder of this funding to rebuild the region.
  • Over The Past Year, $24 Billion In Federal Funds Have Been Spent To Rebuild The Gulf States And To Further Assist Hurricane Victims. Federal dollars have been used to build houses and schools, repair damaged infrastructure, and provide victims with a place to live and other essential assistance as the region continues to get back on its feet.

Restoring And Improving New Orleans Levees

The Administration Has Secured $7.1 Billion From Congress For The U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers To Repair And Enhance The Levees, Make The Entire Hurricane Protection System Better And Stronger, And Begin To Restore The Wetlands Surrounding The Greater New Orleans Area.

  • Today, The New Orleans Area Has The Best Flood Protection In History, And Work Continues On Improvements. All damages to pre-Katrina infrastructure have been repaired, and in many places, the system is now better than before Hurricane Katrina struck:
    • Most of the damaged I-wall construction floodwalls have been replaced with T-walls that have stronger foundations.
    • The most vulnerable floodwalls have been armored to protect against erosion.
    • Most transition points between levees have been strengthened.
    • Thirty-six miles of new levees and floodwalls have been rebuilt and restored to original design height.
    • Floodgates have been added to protect outfall canals that drain water from the city to Lake Pontchartrain.
  • In His FY 2009 Budget, President Bush Will Request The Federal Share Of The Additional $7.6 Billion Needed To Complete These Improvements. This funding will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to complete its work to improve storm and flood protection infrastructure in Greater New Orleans to a 100-year protection level by 2011. It will also fund a $1.3 billion network of interior drainage projects to ensure the area has a more complete hurricane protection system.

Helping To Reopen Schools And Educate Students

The U.S. Department Of Education Provided $2 Billion To Help Local Officials Reopen K-12 And Postsecondary Schools Along The Gulf Coast And Educate Students Displaced By Hurricanes. In addition, FEMA has obligated more than $1.2 billion to Louisiana for school buildings across the state, and Mississippi has received approximately $300 million for education facilities.

  • The Education Department Has Provided $45 Million To Help Louisiana Open Or Reopen Charter Schools. Charter schools are allowing for more flexibility, greater accountability, and better results for New Orleans' students.

Since The Gulf Coast School Library Recovery Initiative Began In May 2006, The Laura Bush Foundation For America's Libraries Has Awarded More Than $2.5 Million To 54 Gulf Coast Schools. These grants are helping schools re-establish book collections in libraries damaged or destroyed by the 2005 hurricanes. The Laura Bush Foundation for America's libraries was officially launched in 2002 as a fund of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region.

Meeting Housing Needs

The Administration Has Provided A Total Of $16.7 Billion In Federal Funds As Part Of The Largest Housing Recovery Program In U.S. History. Of these funds, provided under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) program, more than $10.4 billion has been allocated for Louisiana, of which the State has expended $3.7 billion. Mississippi has been allocated $5.5 billion, of which approximately $1.5 billion has been expended. HUD is working with State leaders to help target these funds, allowing States to draw down funds quickly after submitting plans. HUD continues to carefully monitor the use of these Federal dollars and ensure States are complying with the law.

  • Louisiana Has Chosen To Allocate $7.8 Billion Of Its CDBG Funding To Help Displaced Homeowners And Renters Through The State's Road Home Program. To date, more than $3.4 billion of those funds have been spent to assist over 42,000 homeowners.
  • Louisiana Is Allocating An Additional $1.6 Billion To Support Critical Infrastructure Needs And To Promote Economic Development.
  • In Addition, HUD Is Also Working With The Housing Authority Of New Orleans, Which Was Under HUD Receivership Prior To Katrina, To Build New Mixed-Income Communities. These communities are better, safer, and provide more opportunities for residents than prior housing developments that concentrated poverty.
  • Mississippi Is Allocating $3.4 Billion In CDBG Funding To Assist Homeowners And Renters. Homeowner grants under the first phase of Mississippi's program have now been paid to 87 percent of eligible applicants, for a total of approximately 13,636 grants amounting to nearly $1 billion in disbursed homeowner assistance funds.
  • Mississippi Is Also Using An Additional $640 Million In CDBG Funding To Rebuild Infrastructure And $100 Million To Repair Damaged Public Housing.

Over 2,000 HUD-Owned Homes And 76,035 Units In HUD-Assisted Or HUD-Insured Multifamily Properties (Apartment Buildings) Have Been Repaired And Leased To Displaced Families Since Hurricanes Katrina And Rita. HUD has also provided Disaster Vouchers to 28,000 previously HUD-assisted or homeless families. In September, HUD will take over the FEMA apartment program, which will continue to provide rental assistance to approximately 45,000 households.

Additional Assistance Is Being Provided For Mississippi And Louisiana Homeowners And Businesses

The Small Business Administration Has Disbursed $6 Billion In Low-Cost Disaster Loans To Homeowners, Renters, And Business Owners Along The Gulf Coast.

Gulf Opportunity Zone (GO Zone) Tax Credits And Other Tax Relief Has Provided $12.7 Billion In Tax Relief For Victims Of The 2005 Hurricanes. In 2005, the President signed the GO Zone Act to help create jobs and spur development by providing tax relief for businesses and entrepreneurs in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The President signed legislation in December 2006 to extend vital provisions of this act.

The U.S. Department Of Justice (DOJ) Has Provided More Than $86 Million To Support Louisiana And The City Of New Orleans In Their Efforts To Fight Violent Crime And Rebuild Their Criminal Justice Systems. Nearly $30 million was disbursed to the New Orleans area for personnel costs, vehicles, prison beds, generators, office equipment, riot gear, ammunition, and miscellaneous equipment to shore up local law enforcement, the court system, and District Attorney's office.

Historic Volunteer Efforts Have Shown The Compassion Of The American People

In The Two Years Following Hurricane Katrina, More Than 1.1 Million Americans Have Volunteered To Help With Gulf Coast Response And Rebuilding Efforts. The number of volunteers in the second year of Katrina recovery exceeded the historic number of volunteers in the recovery's first year – the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) reports that 600,000 Americans volunteered to help rebuild the Gulf in the second year following Hurricane Katrina, up from the historic number of more than 550,000 in the year after the hurricane struck.

  • Since Hurricane Katrina, Over 93,000 Participants In Corporation For National And Community Service Programs Have Given More Than 3.5 Million Hours Of Service And Managed 262,000 Volunteers. CNCS has provided more than $130 million of resources to the Gulf Coast in response to Katrina.

# # #



Speeches and News Releases

April 22, 2008
President Bush Meets with Community Leaders in New Orleans

April 21, 2008
President Bush Attends United States Chamber of Commerce Reception

April 18, 2008
Fact Sheet: President Bush Selects Major General Doug O'Dell to Serve as Gulf Coast Coordinator

President Bush Selects Major General Doug O’Dell as Coordinator of Federal Support for Recovery and Rebuilding of the Gulf Coast

August 29, 2007
President Bush Visits Mississippi, Discusses Rebuilding Efforts

Archive »

How You Can Help

Please do not send any items to the White House intended for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Instead, please visit the USA Freedom Corps website at for information on ways you can assist your fellow Americans in need during this time.


The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned
Full Document (PDF)
Full Document (HTML)

Public Service Announcements

Former Presidents Bush and Clinton Assist in Hurricane Relief Efforts


Related Links

Ask the White House

Desiree Sayle
USA Freedom Corps

August 28, 2006
September 8, 2005

Donald Powell
Federal Coordinator of Gulf Coast Rebuilding

August 25, 2006
February 6, 2006

Max Mayfield
National Hurricane Center

June 16, 2006

Carlos Gutierrez
Secretary of Commerce

October 11, 2005

Samuel Bodman
Secretary of Energy

September 28, 2005

Alphonso Jackson
Secretary of Housing & Urban Development

September 27, 2005
September 13, 2005

Hector Barreto
SBA Administrator

September 20, 2005

Mrs. Lynne Cheney
September 19, 2005

Jim Towey, Director
Office of Faith-Based & Community Initiatives

September 16, 2005

Harry Thomas
Executive Secretary
U.S. State Department

September 12, 2005

Vice Admiral Richard Carmona
U.S. Surgeon General

September 9, 2005

Margaret Spellings
Secretary of Education

September 6, 2005

Michael Chertoff
Secretary of Homeland Security

September 1, 2005


Patrick Rhode, FEMA Deputy Director

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