NEWS BRIEF President Obama visited Louisiana Tuesday, the site of recent historic flooding that has displaced tens of thousands of people, damaged scores more homes, and is blamed for the death of 17 people.
The president arrived in Baton Rouge, the state capital, amid criticism for not cutting short his annual vacation to travel to affected areas and see the damage firsthand; when the flooding was at its worst last week, Obama and the first family were in Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. They returned to Washington on Sunday. (Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, had said he’d prefer Obama to wait a “week or two” to visit because of the resources that would need to be diverted for a presidential visit.)
Obama met with emergency workers and state and local officials Tuesday. He also toured affected neighborhoods and met with residents.
“I was just speaking to a young woman whose husband died shortly after the birth of her second child. She was talking about how her daughter was trying to gather all of the keepsakes that she had in her bedroom that reminded her of her father,” he said in a press conference in the afternoon, the damage to residents’ homes visible behind him. “That gives you some sense that this is not just about property damage. This is about people’s roots.”