----- Original Message -----
From: Andrew BEATTY [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2015 01:55 PM
To: Velz, Peter T. EOP
Subject: Travel pool report 4 (+ correction)
First off, a correction to pool report 2: Shaun Donovan is of course former, not current, HUD secretary. He is now director of OMB. Apologies to all, and thanks to those who outpointed.
As we arrived in Treme, POTUS got rid of the jacket, rolled up sleeves walked down 'N Miro' street with Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
He walked towards a small cheering gaggle of people, spreading out his arms and jokingly mock cheering, before saying 'I can't take pictures with all of you.' He chatted and held up the first of several babies of the day.
He then turned on to 'Magic' street, which was two neat rows of sizable and spanking clean single family and duplex homes. Each was painted in pastel or more primary colors and had wood shuttered windows.
As he approached the first house POTUS noticed a toddler with pink and white ribbons flat out asleep on her mother's shoulder. "Look at how excited this little girl is to meet the president!" he exclaimed.
He moved on to number 2303, where he greeted Leah Chase, 92, and her husband Edgar Chase Jr. in front of their home. Leah, in a wheelchair, told the president how proud she was of him. He answered: "I'm just trying to make sure we give Mitch an assist."
POTUS told them he had tried the gumbo but not the chicken at an eatery, which the pool did not catch. He said he hoped to return for chicken.
Pool caught up with the Chases as POTUS continues down the street. The family owns Dooky Chase restaurant.
"I am so proud of him," Leah Chase told the pool. " He's done a good job. He knew it was going to be a rough road. He handled it. And that's all you have to do: handle what's handed to you."
" So if I keep feeding him he'll be okay," she added' saying before he leaves the White House "I'll send him some gumbo."
At 2305 POTUS greeted another family, including a young lady who called herself "Wheezy" - which brought a shocked response "Wheezy?" the President asked, replicating a wheezing noise while clutching his chest. He then broke into song, letting out a bar of a tune which the pool is reliably informed was from the sitcom The Jeffersons.
POTUS visited a few more homes before summoning the press pool to gather around him: "I might say something!"
He said he would be speaking at greater length later in the day but wanted to talk about the part of New Orleans where we were, calling it "part of one of the most historic districts in New Orleans, in Louisiana and America." He said it was where people think jazz started to take root, and was one of the most important African American communities in the country.
"Like so much of this area it was devastated during the storm. But what we're seeing is an example of the incredible federal, state and local partnerships that have helped revitalized this community - not just with this housing, which is all new ... but also there's a school in that direction, a community center in that direction."
"Part of our goal has always been to make sure not just that we recover from this storm but also that we start dealing with some of the structural inequities that existed long before the storm happened."
He'd have more "nice things" to say about the mayor later but he said: "None of this would have happened had it not been for the outstanding leadership of Mayor Mitch Landrieu. He has been just an unbelievable partner throughout this entire process."
He concluded: "Now just because the housing is nice doesn't mean our job is done. In this community obviously there's still a lot of poverty. It's an area where young people still too often are taking the wrong path, not graduating from high school. This is a community that still needs resources, and still needs help. But the fact that we've taken this many strides 10 years after a terrible, epic disaster is an indication I think of the kind of spirit that we have in this city."
As he was speaking a neighbor poked her head out of the house and the Secret Service gestured her to go back in "I'm not going to be in the way," she said.
POTUS then headed toward the Beast, asking someone to retrieve his sunglasses because, as he put it, I'm getting old.
A few moments later we loaded in the motorcade and travelled the short distance to Willie Mae's restaurant, where POTUS was having lunch in the small rustic dining room, cooled by overhead fans.
According to the White House he is lunching with
At 1:45 CT the pool is holding.
Background from WH on lunch
The President will participate in a My Brother's Keeper (MBK) roundtable with a group of local young men to discuss resiliency in the face of adversity. The young men were all impacted by Hurricane Katrina and have benefited from programming that's part of New Orleans Mayor Landrieu's My Brother's Keeper and NOLA FOR LIFE initiatives. Mayor Landrieu and Congressman Richmond will also join the lunch at Willie Mae's Scotch House - a family business and culinary institution for over 50 years.
The Mayor accepted the President's My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge in September 2014, as part of his ongoing effort to reduce violence and expand opportunity. My Brother's Keeper in New Orleans is aligned with NOLA FOR LIFE, a city-wide strategy to drastically reduce the murder rate among young African American males (16-24) in the City and to address the complex needs of New Orleans' highest risk youth. In the years following Katrina, the city was challenged by an increase in violent crime and homicide - by 2012 New Orleans' murder rate was one of the highest in the nation. NOLA FOR LIFE was launched in 2012 and since then the murder rate has declined. In fact, 2014 marked the lowest number of murders in over forty years in the city.
In December 2014, approximately 300 residents participated in the city's MBK Local Action Summit, which was designed to explore and set actionable goals to address broader issues contributing to the homicide rate in New Orleans-race, equity, education, income inequality, and the criminal justice system. Following the Summit and a policy review, the City released its MBK Local Action Plan in May, which outlines policy commitments across three key milestone areas: reducing violence and providing a second chance; graduating from high school career and college ready; and, successfully entering the workforce. The plan details current and future investment in evidence-based approaches that support youth development, resiliency and a pathway from cradle to college and career.
White House Correspondent
Cell: + (202) xxx-xxx-xxxx
Desk: (202) xxx-xxx-xxxx