President Bush has told an audience in New Orleans on Tuesday that the city wants her people to come home.
Mr. Bush spoke at a high school as part of events marking the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. He renewed his vow to do whatever it takes to help the city and the region recover. He praised the city's residents for their acts of courage during the disaster and the ongoing recovery, calling them "the very best of America."
Today the city holds a traditional "jazz funeral," a parade through the streets accompanied by the lively music of trumpets, clarinets, and trombones that make up New Orleans' signature sound.
Many homes in New Orleans' hardest hit neighborhoods are still in ruins, and some areas still lack basic services such as water and electricity. The city's population is around 200-thousand today, about half of what it was before the storm.
The lack of recovery in the city has generated a lot of criticism for the Bush administration, and for local and state governments.
Katrina was one of the most destructive storms in U.S. history. The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Katrina left more than 18-hundred people dead and several hundred more missing when it devastated parts of the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
The president has said Hurricane Katrina revealed that federal, state and local governments were not prepared to deal with such a catastrophe. The federal government has committed 110 billion dollars in resources to help the region recover.
On Monday, Mr. Bush toured the hard-hit town of Biloxi, Mississippi. He praised residents and volunteer workers for their courage and determination in rebuilding. He said about 98 percent of the debris has been removed in Biloxi.