...he gets some takeout from Dooky Chase's shortly before he leaves...
...and, in-between it all, I can't help but think of all the footballs he probably hauled with him on Air Force One, of how he deflected the boos that came Bobby Jindal's way when Obama intro'd him at the Town Hall held at UNO earlier today, of how few questions ended up being asked at the Town Hall (only 7), and of how only one thing stood out above all else:
People here were so star-struck in Obama's presence that many issues nearest and dearest most New Orleanians' hearts simply were not addressed. The largest of those elephants in the room that were carefully avoided was that of flood protection for this city through the strengthening of levees and the restoration of our wetlands. The man was still speaking as though Katrina had caused all of our problems and we were going to be just hunky-dory with 100-year-storm flood protection, when we are already quite aware of what a fallacy such "protection" is.
It's sad that a population that was lining up in their cars and tying up traffic uptown to file their papers in a civil suit against the Army Corps of Engineers a couple of years back couldn't manage to get a word in about this in the president's first appearance in this city since his election.
Of course, I'm not sure what other platitudes would be passed onto the Town Hall attendees other than those asking for patience on our part, citing the red tape that is being cut, albeit slowly, and pointing to working in cooperation with a state and city that, in all likelihood, want to make things as difficult as possible for us residents.
Good %$#!*&^ luck with that last one, Mr Obama.
Even your assurances that health care reform would pass with the help of Mary Landrieu, Charlie Melancon, and Anh Joseph Cao were quite amusing in a nice, gallows humor-ish sort of way.
Ladies and gents, if there's one other thing I gleaned from all of this, it's that we need to get over our "OhmyGodit'sOBAMAINTOWN!" goose bumps and start realizing he is in office because we elected him to do a better job than the yahoo that was in office before him. We need to hold Obama to those higher standards, which won't be happening if we keep making goo-goo eyes at the man and fail to let him know what is really on our minds.
Watch the Town Hall here.
More can be seen of my impressions of the town hall by checking out my Tweeter Tube stream.
Full transcript of the speech before the Q & A can be found here.
Personal fave tweet o' mine: Obama says in reference to the FEMA reimbursements question asked: "I wish I could just write a check" Audience member asks, "Why not?"
A foreshadowing moment: on addressing a question about health care reform and how it will affect one couple's coverage, I had this thought: Didn't we hear all of this at the press conference where everyone went berserk over Skip Gates at the end instead?
Little did I know what item about this gathering of Obama's would be making the news this time.:
When Obama called on Tyren to ask the last question of the day, the boy’s question temporarily silenced the crowd:
“Why do people hate you and they’re supposed to love you and God is love?”
Obama handled the question deftly. “Well, first of all, I did get elected President, and not everybody hates me,” he told Tyren. “If you’re watching TV lately, everyone seems mad all the time. Some of it’s just what’s called politics. One party wins, the other party feels it needs to poke you to keep you on your toes. You shouldn’t take it too seriously. People are worried about their own lives, losing jobs, health care, homes, and feeling frustrated. When you’re President of the United States you’ve got to deal with all of that.”
Gambit asked Tyren what he thought of Obama’s answer. “It made me feel good about what he said,” Tyren told us. “And he gave me the right answer.”
And so, Obama's first up-close encounter with mostly adult New Orleans' citizens ended.
But of course the state of Louisiana couldn't let it end there....because today, it decided to party like it was 1929 and 1959.
Perhaps Obama's trip was just long enough, after all....
Updates, 10-16: Cliff's take on the president's visit, along with a great picture of Obama and Tyren.
Adrastos' seconding of Cliff's post, along with an important note concerning the no-show of Diaper Dave yesterday.
Maitri on the idiotic, illegal ruling against issuing an interracial couple a marriage license made by a Tangipahoa Parish justice yesterday. Yes, yesterday, the same day our biracial president was paying us a short visit. Is it any wonder most of New Orleans wants to secede from the rest of Louisiana at this point?
Anudder update, 10-16, 10:33 PM: Verite gives us a two-parter entitled "I Am Not A Racist":
...given what happened recently in my state of Louisiana, the Justice of the Peace admitting he won't marry interracial couples and the words he used to defend his views, I thought it was time for a review of some situations that have prompted people to make the statement "I am not a racist." Perhaps someone who hasn't considered before why the whole "I am not a racist" statement alienates black people will grasp that it may be one of the worst phrases a white person can utter before or after making a racially-charged statement or doing something that any sane person should know is racially offensive.
One mo' time, 10-17: E has more from his perspective as an attendee at the Town Hall, citing what Obama's administration has done for us before Obama even came to New Orleans.