Ten years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Barack Obama has told residents of the city that they inspired the whole country and that they were an example of "when in the face of tragedy, good people come together to lend a hand."
On August 29, 2005, a category 3 storm with 127mph winds made landfall between Grand Isle, Louisiana and the mouth of the Mississippi River: Hurricane Katrina had arrived in the American South.
Severe flooding affected Gulfport, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana, causing $108 billion in damage and killing 1,833 people. FEMA described it as "the single most catastrophic natural disaster in US history" as well as the "costliest hurricane" ever.
President Obama spoke in the Lower 9th Ward, a largely African-American neighborhood that was one of the hardest hit by the storm, and he paid tribute to the "extraordinary resilience" of New Orleans and its residents.
Visiting New Orleans for the ninth time as President, Mr Obama went first to Treme, the historic black neighbourhood deluged during Katrina and later memorialised in the HBO drama Treme. He received a warm welcome from locals as he went door to door, meeting residents.
Speaking later at a community centre, Mr Obama said: "Not long ago, our gathering here in the Lower Ninth might have seemed unlikely. But today, this new community centre stands as a symbol of the extraordinary resilience of this city and its people, of the entire Gulf Coast, indeed, of the United States of America."
Hurricane Katrina - in pictures
Hurricane Katrina - in pictures
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A woman is carried out of flood waters after being trapped in her home in Orleans parish during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, in New Orleans, Louisiana, 2005
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A U.S. Coast Guard rescue boat carries US Army 82nd Airborne Division soldiers as it searches a flooded street in New Orleans, Louisiana, 2005
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A SUV lies against a house and rubble in Biloxi, Mississippi as Hurricane Katrina hit USA, 2005
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A plea for help appears on the roof of a home flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, 2005
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People are taken ashore in a boat after being rescued from their homes in high water in the Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina struck in New Orleans, Louisiana, 2005
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An aerial view of the flooding near downtown New Orleans during the Hurricane Katrina, 2005
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Houses are seen submerged under water in New Orleans, Louisiana, 2005
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Canal Street, in New Orleans, during Hurricane Katrina in 2005
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Debris from Hurricane Katrina piles up along a bridge in New Orleans, Louisiana, 2005
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Firefighters inspect damage left by Hurricane Katrina, in Biloxi, Mississippi, 2005
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The Kids Quest (C) building sits in the middle of the route 90 next to the Grand Casino (L) 30 August 2005 in Gulfport, Mississippi, both damaged from the high wind and waves Hurricane Katrina, 2005
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The most costly hurricane in history caused damages of $85bn. The category-3 storm formed over the Bahamas crossed Florida and the Gulf of Mexico before striking New Orleans
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Hurricane Katrina evacuees sit on their bed, on the floor of the Astrodome stadium in Houston, Texas, 2005
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People search for their belongings among debris washed up on the beach in Biloxi, Mississppi, after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, 2005
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Parishioner Chloe Guice Wise (R) hugs Mark Washburn at the conclusion of services at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer (shown in background) which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, in Biloxi, Mississippi, 2005
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Stranded victims of Hurricane Katrina are taken ashore by Air Force National Guard soldiers in New Orleans, Louisiana, 2005
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Fishing boats lay in a pile after Hurricane Katrina passed through in Empire, Louisiana, 2005
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U.S. Navy flight deck personnel take part in an emergency replenishment working party aboard the dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46), as they load water into an MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter in support of Hurricane Katrina disaster relief efforts in the Atlantic Ocean
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A patriotic display can be seen in the ruins of a home in Waveland, Mississippi. Scenes like these dot the landscapes where homes once stood. Rescue and clean up efforts continued in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina three weeks after the deadly storm hit
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A makeshift grave is seen for a woman on a downtown street in New Orleans, Louisiana, 2005
The horrifying imagery from the aftermath – of residents huddled in the overcrowded Superdome, or of bodies rotting in the streets – underlined the inadequacy of the Government response, and highlighted the deep racial and class divides that still characterised the city and the US as a whole.
In his speech, Mr Obama acknowledged that while New Orleans' population and economy have rebounded, inequality and crime are still rife. It was important to remember the terrible events of 2005, he said, "not in order to dwell in the past, but in order to keep moving forward. Because this is a city that slowly, unmistakably, together, is moving forward."
"There's something in you guys that is just irrepressible," Obama told hundreds of residents assembled at a bustling new community center in an area of the Lower 9th Ward that was once under 17 feet of water. "The people of New Orleans didn't just inspire me, you inspired all of America."Reuse content