Obama hails New Orleans spirit on Katrina anniversary

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US President Barack Obama has paid tribute to the people of New Orleans, five years to the day after Hurricane Katrina destroyed large parts of the city.

His administration would stand by them and continue rebuilding "until the job is done", Mr Obama said.

Katrina was a natural disaster but also a man-made one, he said, which saw a "shameful breakdown" of government.

More than 1,800 people died when Katrina hit the Gulf coast in 2005.

The storm displaced hundreds of thousands of people, some of whom have still not returned.

Ceremonies in New Orleans to mark the anniversary include the tolling of the bells at St Louis Cathedral.

Mr Obama made his speech at Xavier University - which, like much of New Orleans, was flooded when the levees protecting the city were breached by flood tides.

He described the city as a symbol of resilience and community.

"It is inspiring to spend time with people who've demonstrated what it means to persevere in the face of tragedy," he said.

A fortified levee system would be finished next year, Mr Obama pledged.

"We should not be playing Russian roulette every hurricane season," he said.

But he acknowledged that much remained to be done.

"I don't have to tell you that there are still too many vacant and overgrown lots. There are still too many students attending classes in trailers. There are still too many people unable to find work. And there are still too many New Orleanians who have not been able to come home."...

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