Bush seeks to make amends on New Orleans
Mon Jan 28, 9:49 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush sought on Monday to ease the embarrassment of his administration's response to Hurricane Katrina by turning the world spotlight again on New Orleans.

To a standing ovation from Congress, the U.S. president said: "Tonight I am pleased to announce that in April we will host this year's North American Summit of Canada, Mexico, and the United States in the great city of New Orleans."

Bush said he would invite the leaders of neighboring Canada and Mexico for their regular "Three Amigos Summit" in the city which has been slow to recover from the August 2005 hurricane, the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.

In his annual State of the Union speech, Bush also reaffirmed his pledge to help residents rebuild their homes on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Katrina flooded 80 percent of New Orleans and killed about 1,400 people.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and then-Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco criticized Bush for omitting disaster recovery efforts during his 2007 State of the Union speech. Critics said the government was slow to act and burdened by bureaucracy.

The North American leaders' gathering last year centered on trade issues, beefing up drug enforcement and the thorny issue of immigration.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080129/us_ ... 8F1DwPLBIF