A host of Gulf Coast officials greeted the president when he arrived, including Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the incident commander for the spill, and Govs. Charlie Crist of Florida, Bob Riley of Alabama and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans.
Obama was accompanied by Tracy Wareing, counsel to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Press secretary Robert Gibbs said Wareing, in charge of helping local residents and businesses with claims against BP, would accompany the president throughout the day.
Obama attended a briefing at the airport with the officials. He was to travel by helicopter to Grand Isle for a late-afternoon meeting with local business people and Mayor David Camardelle.