For Hurricane Katrina Anniversary, Obama Cites Inequities ‘Brewing for Decades’

President Barack Obama, accompanied by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, holds a child as he greets residents in the the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, for the 10th anniversary since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.  Tremé is one of the oldest black neighborhoods in America, which borders the French Quarter just north of Downtown. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Barack Obama, accompanied by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, holds a child as he greets residents in the the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, for the 10th anniversary since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Tremé is one of the oldest black neighborhoods in America, which borders the French Quarter just north of Downtown. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

New Orleans (CNN) – President Barack Obama returned Thursday to an outwardly thriving New Orleans to mark strides 10 years after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the city.

But underneath the visible recovery lie persistent racial and economic inequities that haven’t receded since the storm — figures Obama said prevent New Orleans from declaring itself fully recovered a decade after Katrina.

“Our work here won’t be done when almost 40% of children still live in poverty in this city. That’s not a finished job. That’s not a full recovery,” he said, going on to cite statistics showing African-American households in the city earn more than 50% less than their white counterparts — a figure well above the national average.

“There’s still too many people who haven’t been able to come back home,” Obama said. By some estimates, more than 100,000 African-Americans fled New Orleans following Katrina, never to return.

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