Obama Visits New Orleans, Reviews Rebuilding Efforts

58269111U.S. President Barack Obama is traveling to New Orleans, Louisiana, four years after the city and surrounding Gulf Coast areas were devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

It will be his first visit to the hurricane-battered city since becoming president. The White House says the president will visit a charter school to talk with students. Mr. Obama will then hold a town hall meeting at the University of New Orleans, where he will hear concerns from residents about recovery and rebuilding efforts.

President Obama is facing criticism for staying less than four hours in the city and for not visiting areas in neighboring Mississippi, which was also ravaged by Katrina. But senior officials say Mr. Obama has worked hard to provide Gulf Coast residents with the tools needed to recover from the hurricane.

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Pictured: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a tribute to the late television journalist Walter Cronkite September 9, 2009 at Lincoln Center in New York City. Numerous dignitaries attended the morning memorial service for the former CBS anchorman who died in July. Obama is returning to Washington later today to deliver a major prime-time address to a joint session of Congress on health care. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)