President Obama tours flood-damaged areas in south Louisiana

President tours flood-damaged areas in Louisiana
Source: Naketa Woods
Source: Naketa Woods

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During his visit to south Louisiana, President Barack Obama promised that the victims of the historic flooding will not be forgotten.

The first stop on his three-hour trip to the Capitol region was to the Castle Place subdivision in Zachary. There he walked debris-lined streets, where broken furniture and scraps of water-logged insulation and drywall sat in front of every home. He said he was reminded of tragedies past.

"I know how resilient the people of Louisiana are, and I know that you will rebuild again -- and what I've seen today proves it," Obama said.

Some homes in that community saw between two and three feet of water. He hugged victims who lost everything, including Naketa and LeJuan Woods. They snapped a photo with the president as he looked at their home.

"It made my day," said LeJuan Woods, who spent most of the past week putting in long hours to clean out his home. He hopes to move back in as soon as possible.

"You never think you're going to meet the president and to have him come into my little old home," Naketa Woods said.

Their home is now a shell of its former self. Eight years of memories sit in a rubble pile by the curb.

"It gives you hope because you're trying to rebuild and start all over again, and then here the president of the United States came down to see what is going on," Naketa Woods said.

The president landed in Baton Rouge around noon. Gov. John Bel Edwards, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, Senators David Vitter and Bill Cassidy, Congressman Garret Graves and Cedric Richmond, as well as other Louisiana officials, joined the president on his tour to see the damage up close and personal.

Upon on arrival, the governor presented the president with a letter, formally requesting additional federal financial assistance in dealing with the relief and recovery efforts.

RELATED: Gov. Edwards asks president to consider requests related to La. flooding

The president then visited a disaster recovery center to meet with other flood victims.

The president's visit was not without controversy. Many have criticized the president for not cutting his vacation to Martha's Vineyard short to visit the flood zone sooner. The Advocate editorial board wrote a blistering critique of Obama for the delay.

Still, the president asked the entire nation pay attention to Louisiana and think of the victims Tuesday.

"What I want the people of Louisiana to know is that you are not alone in this," Obama said.

He also praised the work of first responders as well as FEMA.

"You'd be hard pressed to find a local official anywhere in the country, including those in the other party that wouldn't say that [FEMA Administrator] Craig Fugate and his team haven't been anything less that exemplary," Obama said.

It is estimated about 60,000 homes were damaged and 13 people died as a result of the flooding. As of Tuesday, more than 115,000 people had registered for federal disaster aid.

During the visit, the president also met with the families of some of the law enforcement officers killed and injured in an ambush shooting. He did not meet with the family of Alton Sterling as first reported.

The following are the remarks made by Obama during his tour of the flood damage in Louisiana:

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