Anger and sadness mark the second anniversary of hurricane Katrina
Two years on, and New Orleans is still a shadow of its former self. President George Bush promised to rebuild the city on his visit to New Orleans this week, but it appears too late to avoid the reported resentment that has built up amongst the depleted community.
"People are angry, and they want to send a message to politicians that they want them to do more and do it faster," Rev Marshall Truehill, a Baptist pastor, told the Associated Press news agency.
On the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, anger over the stalled rebuilding was palpable Wednesday throughout the city where the mourning for the dead and feeling of loss doesn't seem to subside.
Hurricane Katrina made landfall south of New Orleans at 6:10 a.m. Aug. 29, 2005, as a strong Category 3 hurricane that flooded 80 percent of the city and killed more than 1,600 people in Louisiana and Mississippi. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.
New Orleans churches staged memorial services, including one at the historic St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square, and ring bells in honor of the victims. People throughout the city will hold their own private ceremonies to remember where they were when Katrina hit, and what they lost.
"We ring the bells today for the 17, 1,800 people who have gone on to a better place," Mayor Ray Nagin said after large bell tolled a dozen times and a crowd wordlessly sounded handheld bells for more than a minute. "We ring the bells for a city that is in recovery, that is struggling, that is performing miracles on a daily basis."
President Bush visited a recovering school in the Lower 9th Ward — a predominantly black, low income area that was all but obliterated when Katrina flooded 80 percent of the city. "Better days are ahead," he said, seeking to assure residents that his administration had not forgotten the region and would make good on the promises of aid he made in the days after the storm.
"We're still paying attention. We understand," the president said.
US President George W Bush has praised the people of New Orleans and insisted the city will fully recover, two years after being hit by Hurricane Katrina.
"Better days are ahead," the president told an audience at a school in one of the districts flooded in 2005, before heading to neighbouring Mississippi.
In the wake of the storm Mr Bush vowed to "do what it takes" to rebuild the city, but he has since faced criticism.
Katrina killed 1,600 people in the states of Louisiana and Mississippi.
The storm made landfall as a strong Category Three hurricane at 0610 on 29 August 2005 and flooded some 80% of the city after levees broke under the pressure of the storm.
Mr Bush spoke at the Dr Martin Luther King Charter School for Math and Science, the first school to reopen in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward, one of the areas most affected by the flooding.