Citing Rep. Charlie Melancon's (D-LA) chief of staff, a September 3 New Orleans Times-Picayune article reported that crews were unable to deliver three tons of food for hurricane survivors in Louisiana's St. Bernard Parish and Algiers Point on September 2, as "air traffic was halted because of President Bush's visit to New Orleans." The food, secured by Melancon and Bob Odom, Louisiana's agriculture commissioner, "baked in the afternoon sun as Bush surveyed damage across southeast Louisiana," according to the Times-Picayune. A September 2 Associated Press article reported the difficulty Melancon had in contacting Bush regarding federal aid for refugees in St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes and also noted Melancon's claim that the restriction on air traffic hindered getting aid to those parishes. According to the AP:
In St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes, just south of New Orleans, victims of the hurricane are still waiting for food and water and for buses to escape the floodwaters, Melancon said. And for the entire time Bush was in the state, the congressman said, a ban on helicopter flights further stalled the delivery of food and supplies.
"I thank the president for his visit today, but it was more show than substance," Melancon said. "Frankly, we needed action days ago."
Another September 2 AP article
cited a paramedic who reported that helicopters transporting sick and
injured refugees to a makeshift treatment center at New Orleans' Louis
Armstrong International Airport were "stopped" upon Bush's arrival,
though the AP did not indicate the duration or effect of their
grounding. According to the AP: "Helicopters flying patients in for
treatment were stopped Friday when President Bush arrived. But the
president didn't enter the airport, which swelled with armed guards
during his visit, [paramedic James] Teague said."
Rev 13Aug2011 better links