Obama hails New Orleans 'resilience' five years post-Katrina.


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1Obama hails New Orleans ` resilience ' five years post-Katrina .
2US President Barack Obama , marking the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans Sunday , praised the city 's resilience and pledged support for rebuilding `` until the job is done . ''
3He acknowledged that the famed jazz city , where at least 1,500 people died in the storm and its aftermath , was still in need of support , but said community efforts had ensured `` New Orleans is blossoming once more . ''
4`` Together , we are helping to make New Orleans a place that stands for what we can do in America , not just for what we ca n't do , '' he said in a speech at the city 's Xavier University .
5Obama acknowledged that the storm , which brought waves of water that overcame levees carrying homes and residents away , `` was a natural disaster , but also a manmade catastrophe , a shameful breakdown in government . ''
6But he pledged that the region , struggling with the long-term effects of the tragedy , the economic downturn and , most recently the Gulf of Mexico oil spill , would be able to rely on the administration for support .
7`` My administration is going to stand with you -- and fight alongside you -- until the job is done , '' he told a cheering crowd .
8Long famed for its rich music scene and its easy-going spirit , New Orleans was plunged into chaos on August 29 , 2005 when torrents of water broke through barriers and gushed in .
9Although 1.4 million residents and visitors were ordered to evacuate as the monster storm approached , many could not or would not and were left stranded .
10A lack of preparation and bungled coordination forced residents to take shelter in attics , and then break through their roofs to escape rising water .
11Footage of desperate Americans , waving signs reading `` Help Us , '' horrified people at home and abroad .
12In the Lower Ninth Ward , the poorest part of the city , built in a basin and 99 percent black , bodies drifted lifelessly with the floodwater .
13Many fled to the Superdome , the stadium where 10,000 people displaced by the hurricane had already sought refuge , but it too became cut off by the water .
14And rescue services were overrun as the disaster that reached deep into neighboring Mississippi and Alabama unfolded , an entire region deprived of electricity , communications and drinking water .
15Finally , the National Guard was deployed , and managed to restore a semblance of order , helping coordinate airlifts and bus evacuations that scattered survivors across the country .