President Bush’s visit to City Hall

President Bush conducted a 45-minute meeting at Biloxi City Hall today, hearing status reports from Gov. Haley Barbour, Mayor A.J. Holloway and others before an audience of nearly 60 elected and community leaders.

During the session, the president reminded Holloway of joining the Biloxi mayor four days after the storm, “walking through the streets of Biloxi and finding people that were literally stunned and were in shock, and were wondering what life meant for them. And I remember the piles of debris …

“And I’ve come back again because I’m inspired every time I come here to see progress and the spirit alive. People here said, we refuse to be held down by the storm, we will overcome it.”

Gov. Barbour outlined milestones of Katrina recovery statewide, while Mayor Holloway, after thanking the president for visiting Biloxi City Hall, had four specific requests for the president to consider – three involving debris removal and its funding, and a fourth that the president use his influence to see that FEMA releases the final flood-elevation maps by the June 1 start of hurricane season.”

“I want to tell you how honored we are to have the President of the United States in Biloxi City Hall,” Holloway said. “And on behalf of the people of Biloxi, I want to thank you for all of the assistance you have given us.”

Holloway also presented the President with an official looking Mississippi license plate, a vanity plate, bearing “BUSH 43.” (To see the plate, click here.)

Said Bush at the end of the ceremony: “I’m proud to be back again. I intend to keep coming back so long as I’m the President — and perhaps after the presidency, A.J.

“Now, A.J. has given me a great gift. Instead of the key to the city, he gave me a Biloxi, Mississippi license plate. It’s got my name and my number on there. (Laughter.) One of these days, I’ll own a private vehicle, and I may just put this on my vehicle when I come back and see you. (Laughter.)”

More online coverage

To see photos from the City Hall visit this morning, click here.

To read a transcript of President Bush’s remarks, click here.

To read Mayor Holloway’s remarks, click here.

To read more White House coverage of the overall Katrina recovery, click here.

To read the report “State of the City: March 1, 2007 Presidential Visit,” click here.

To see the city’s Katrina stats package, click here.