NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Declaring he could not imagine an America without New Orleans, President Bush pledged to "do what it takes ... as long as it takes" to rebuild the city.
In a nationwide address from the flood-ravaged city Wednesday night, Bush assured those displaced by Hurricane Katrina the federal, state and local governments will work together to rebuild in a "sensible, well-planned way."
Bush again apologized for the lack of initial response to the disaster, saying, "It was not a normal hurricane -- and the normal disaster relief system was not equal to it.
"And tonight I also offer this pledge of the American people: Throughout the area hit by the hurricane, we will do what it takes ... we will stay as long as it takes ... to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives," Bush said. "And all who question the future of the Crescent City need to know: There is no way to imagine America without New Orleans, and this great city will rise again."
This was Bush's fourth trip to the area since the category 4 storm struck two weeks ago, sweeping away parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He said the federal government will pick up the tab for most of the reconstruction effort, which he said would be "one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen. When that job is done, all Americans will have something to be very proud of -- and all Americans are needed in this common effort."