The following is a guest post by Amy Liu, a senior fellow and deputy director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution and co-author of the New Orleans Index at Five. The opinions expressed are her own.
This weekend, President Obama will head to New Orleans to mark the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. He should use this opportunity to present a plan for the future, not merely acknowledge the past.
We know how these anniversary rituals go. Fact sheets summarize administration achievements. Remarks feature on-the-ground successes. But this year, successes are tempered by the lingering uncertainties and unmet needs of the massive Gulf oil spill.
The president can’t avoid the entanglement of two of history’s worst disasters playing out on his watch in the same region. Luckily, the tremendous progress made post-Katrina in New Orleans offers a lesson for how the administration should shape its post-oil spill recovery efforts.
Thanks to the combination of federal and philanthropic investments, New Orleanians have been able to put the city and metro area on the path to transformation and long-term prosperity.