Senate Democrats


Kickoff Louisiana Senator’s “Hope and Recovery Tour” with review of reconstruction progress

Washington, DC — Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid today joined Louisiana’s senior Senator Mary Landrieu to kick off her “Hope and Recovery Tour” with a visit to St. Bernard Parish for a first-hand view of the recovery effort nearly one year after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Senators toured the Chalmette Residential Community with St. Bernard Sheriff Jack Stephens and Reverend Leonard Lucas, then joined Parish Councilmember Joey DiFatta, School Superintendent Doris Voitier, and Principal Leanne Harlton for a tour of the recently reopened Andrew Jackson Elementary School. The Senators then visited Main’s Grocery, an independent grocery store opened by Mr. Carlton Main, a local resident determined to provide a needed service to his community.

A year after the two hurricanes swept ashore and swept away Americans’ illusion that their government was prepared for a major catastrophe, much remains undone to repair the damage across the Gulf. As they have been since the moment the storms hit the Gulf Region, Senators Reid and Landrieu remain committed to rebuilding the region and doing everything possible to protect Americans from future disasters. Reid and Landrieu’s visit today is the first stop of the Louisiana Senator’s “Hope and Recovery Tour,” a month-long journey through coastal Louisiana parishes. Together, they are working to change the direction of reconstruction, fighting to put aside the despair and destruction and replace it with a new spirit of accomplishment for the people of the region.

“One year ago, the Gulf Coast endured a terrible natural disaster, one made into a tragedy by the failures of government that should have been there to help. America learned the terrible lesson that, even after the attacks of 9/11, we are still not as safe as we should be,” said Senator Reid. “One year later, the spirit of the people of the Gulf remains an inspiration to us all, but the reconstruction has not risen to match it. After the storms last year, Democrats pledged to rebuild the Gulf Coast, and we reaffirm that commitment today. We remain dedicated to the spirit of hope and recovery needed to bring back safer and better communities across this vital region.”

“During the ‘Hope and Recovery Tour,’ I will travel the Louisiana parishes along the Gulf Coast, which were devastated last year by the worst hurricanes in American history, Katrina and Rita, and the catastrophic levee breaks that followed,” Senator Landrieu said. “In commemorating the hurricane anniversaries, I want to bring a message of hope and recovery to the people in these parishes. I will focus on the promise of hope as Louisianians work hard to rebuild, and I will focus on the hard realities of an unfinished recovery.

“Progress has been made. We’re thankful to Senator Reid for his leadership and support for our state and for his efforts to get Congress to approve over $41.5 billion dollars for Louisiana. But we must keep pushing for a levee system that has the strength to withstand Category 5 hurricanes, and we must reinforce the eroding Gulf Coastline so that we can protect Louisiana and the nation from future national disasters, as well as continue in providing crucial energy, oil and natural gas, for all of America,” said Senator Landrieu

Last year, in the wake of Hurricane’s Katrina and Rita, Democrats responded quickly with the Katrina Emergency Relief Act, a comprehensive package that would have provided immediate aid and assistance to victims across the Gulf Coast. Senators Reid and Landrieu have led the Senate Democrats in ensuring the continuing needs of the Gulf Coast region are met and in reaching out to the affected communities. One year later, though too many government promises remain unfulfilled, Democrats remain committed to giving the Gulf Coast the future of hope and recovery that it’s residents so deserve.