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Dollars and visits to mark Katrina anniversary

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Updated 10:19 a.m. ET
The Obama administration is doling out millions in new reconstruction grants and deploying top officials as the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina nears.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate on Tuesday announced about $28.4 million in federal funds for reconstruction projects in Louisiana and Mississippi. The small, but symbolic payments will help rebuild university student centers, Catholic schools and assisted living facilities, and sewage systems.

Beneficiaries include Xavier University, which has received more than $55 million in federal assistance since Katrina, the Archdiocese of New Orleans, three Louisiana parishes and one Mississippi county.

The funding announced Tuesday is part of more than $2.5 billion in aid distributed by the Obama administration for Gulf Coast reconstruction efforts, Napolitano said.

Fugate arrives in New Orleans on Wednesday for a five-day visit that includes testimony at a Senate field hearing on Thursday and visits to schools and hospital rebuilding with FEMA grants. He'll make similar stops in Mississippi.

Here's the full rundown of where Obama administration officials will visit in the coming days:

-- Fugate visits St. Bernard Parish schools.

-- Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin will visit J.S. Clark Elementary School in Monroe, La.

-- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan will attend a “Welcome Home” Event hosted by Rebuilding Together in New Orleans.

-- Donovan and Fugate testify at a Senate field hearing on on Katrina recovery.

-- Donovan and Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Patrick Corvington speak at a rebuilding event in New Orleans.

-- EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson delivers a keynote address at the "Fighting for Survival: The Vulnerability of America’s Gulf Coast and the Caribbean Basin" conference at Tulane University in New Orleans.

-- Fugate tours three FEMA-funded recovery projects in New Orleans.

-- Duncan visits the Kids College at Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss. to discuss teacher recruitment efforts and then stops at George C. Hall Elementary School in Mobile, Ala.

-- Donovan speaks at the Silver Lining Breakfast sponsored by the Louisiana Recovery Disaster Foundation.

-- Jackson meets with volunteers at the “Wave of Green” in City Park, then speaks at the TEDxNOLA conference in Le Petit Theatre, and finishes her day with a visit to the Wilson School to discuss EPA's work in the Gulf.

-- Fugate tours recovery projects in Biloxi, Miss., including a fire station, Biloxi Light House, and a highway project.

-- Covington speaks at the Louisiana Organization of Non-profit Organizations conference on community service and volunteerism. He later speaks at a "community dialogue" about CNCS's work in the region and finishes with an event to celebrate the efforts of Reach Out and Read, an organization that has given out 1 million books to children.

-- Covington participates in a ribbon cutting hosted by Rebuilding Together. Then he attends a Tulane University event to thank about 1,200 volunteers for their work. He later visits a Greater NOLA Habitat for Humanity building site.

-- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Deputy FEMA Administrator Rich Serino visit Mississippi.

-- Jackson attends an interfaith service in New Orleans and later attends a candlelight vigil.

-- President Obama delivers remarks at an anniversary event.

RELATED: Hurricane Katrina: Five Years Later

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Cabinet and Staff News: President and Mrs. Obama dined Tuesday evening with Valerie Jarrett and Vernon and Anne Jordan. Vice President Biden continues touting the administration's work for small business by visiting a ... wait for it .... small business, in Washington, D.C. House Minority Leader John Boehner wants Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers fired. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack offered to resign over the Shirley Sherrod affair. A profile of Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton.

CIA sees increased threat from al-Qaeda in Yemen: An off-shoot -- rather than the core group now based in Pakistan -- is the most urgent threat to U.S. security, officials said.

Self-described CIA assassin dies in gun accident: Roland W. Haas died over the weekend when he accidentally shot himself.


Defense official discloses cyberattack: Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III says malicious code placed on the drive by a foreign intelligence agency uploaded itself onto a network run by the U.S. military's Central Command.

Officer: Marines oppose lifting 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell': Its top officer said there is widespread opposition to allowing gays to serve openly. But he's retiring this fall regardless.

Summer at the Naval Academy means the running of the plebes: Few of the more than 3 million incoming freshmen have endured the six-week Plebe Summer in Annapolis.

Md. and D.C. among winners of second-round Race to the Top grants: Other winners include Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island.

FDA's new rules signal closer look at Egg firms: It will conduct hundreds of inspections to ensure producers adhere to newly implemented safety rules.

Fairs help job-seekers with security clearances connect with intelligence firms: At a check-in booth, organizers asked, "What's your clearance level?" and passed each candidate an appropriately colored sticker.

Testimony: Response to gulf well explosion hurt by lack of gear: A lack of proper technical gear and the inability to receive large e-mails from shore hampered efforts to shut the flow of oil after the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion.

White House will appeal judge’s stem cell ruling: This as stunned advocates and lawmakers sought to digest the implications of the decision.

How the Minerals Management Service's partnership with industry led to failure: The agency often adopted language provided by the oil industry's trade group, the American Petroleum Institute, and incorporated it into the Federal Register.

SEC: Ex-Countrywide chief approved special loans: Angelo Mozilo personally approved mortgages for favored borrowers that violated the company's policies and lending standards

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By Ed O'Keefe  | August 25, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  44: Obama's Washington, Administration, Eye Opener  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Vilsack e-mails USDA staffers about Sherrod
Next: A 'top secret' job fair in D.C. area (Video)


Re the Hurricane Katrina anniversary: I wish there were a way to contact groups in the area to volunteer throughout each year to help the devastated areas rebuild. I know that there are several trips abroad to help other countries in need. I seem to have a heart for Louisiana and would like a church or some humanitarian group to contact me so I can put my skills to work in the state(

Posted by: dnz4joy | August 25, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Everything is true!
Go in look look:
Believe that you may need.

Posted by: itkonlyyou248 | August 25, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

How come there is no real conversation about all of the other Corps levees that are in use in the US that have every chance of failure as happened in New Orleans?

Posted by: poppysue85 | August 25, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

The Shirley Sherrod affair is taking some bad turns:

1) She may sue the taxpayers for wrongful firing. She is a nice lady but she has sued the taxpayers before and has been compensated.

2) The Secretary of Agriculture has offered to resign (i.e., field arrows for the White House). Let' s see if someone in the White House is brave enough to come forward and take responsibility.

Posted by: kishorgala | August 25, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I did notice that every time the sweaty Obamaite tried to hug the ugly black racist, she recoiled

Posted by: carlbatey | August 25, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Read this strange story about J.D. Hayworth and a consulting company he once worked with:

Posted by: HitEleven | August 25, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Louisiana receives 37.5% of the royalties “to preserve and restore coastal habitats”.

As of 2006 Louisiana receives 37.5% of the royalties from Oil drilling in federal waters explicitly “to preserve and restore coastal habitats” but the Governors Mansion of (Bobby) Piyush Amrit Jindal has spent the money elsewhere, which resulted in additional Oil damage that could have been mitigated had the money been used as contracted.

Since the Billions received from Oil drilling have not been used to “preserve and restore coastal habitats” this agreement with the federal government should be eliminated immediately with the 37.5% in royalties going into the general fund that benefits all states or used by federal agencies “to preserve and restore coastal habitats” as it was intended.

Norway has stricter rules for drilling (requiring relief wells, remote acoustic triggers for shut off valves, frequent inspections etc.,) and has set aside $437 Billion into Wealth generating pensions and sovereign wealth funds while Louisiana has behaved like the worst third world entity in destroying the gulf resources instead of preserving, conserving and restoring the Gulf.

Oil spills. Poverty. Corruption. Why Louisiana is America's petro-state.

Louisiana does less with more (Billions in Oil & Gas revenues), while other states do more with less. Despite Billions in Oil and Gas revenue Louisiana has the highest levels of infant mortality, lowest rates of mortality, highest rates of violent crime, lowest in college education, and highest in people living in poverty.

Posted by: Airborne82 | August 25, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Shirley Sherrod has been fighting for poor farmers for decades.

Thousands of Black farmers are still waiting on the $1.2 Billion settlement money from discrimination by USDA and federal agencies. Pull the $1.2 Billion for justice and restitution from the annual $15~$20 Billion USDA Feedstock and Cotton Subsidies to Rich Farming Companies. That’s $150~$200 Billion over 10 years to Rich farming conglomerates while victims of decades of abuse and discrimination cannot get a dime.

Farm Subsidy Database:®name=UnitedStatesFarmSubsidySummary

Recipients of Total USDA Subsidies to farms in United States totaled $15,410,000,000 in 2009;

America borrow moneys from China, to pay Big/Rich Agriculture Companies, and then pay Tribute/Penalty to Brazil because this practice places all other Exports and Jobs at risk.

U.S. government has been paying cotton growers more than $3 billion per year since 1991, with most of the largess going to big agribusiness in the South. The USDA should not be subsidizing the wealthiest of Agriculture corporate conglomerates to the tune of $150~$200 Billion every 10 years.

Posted by: Airborne82 | August 25, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Vilsack should resign Read the politico article in which he indicated that he acted with no info because it was important to show quickly that the previously racist agriculture department would have no acceptance of racisim (white or black). Why would anyone want to work for such a manager. He should get a job where the only one who reports to him is a RELATIVE.

Posted by: jerry6421 | August 25, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

This Sherrod thing has been so overblown, here is a woman who admitted she was a racist in dealing with white people, now claims she is not a racist. People rushed to judgment, they apologized and offered her job back, so what more does she want. And now she is suing, didn't she get big bucks from another lawsuit. Shirley needs to get a real job and fade into the background.

Posted by: mightyheidi | August 25, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

In the face of the devastation in Haiti and now in Pakistan, it's time for those affected by Katrina and their enablers to stop whining.

Posted by: Clio2 | August 25, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Will New Orleans still be under water when the World Trade Centers are rebuilt?

Posted by: jiji1 | August 25, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

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