October 16, 2009

My Edit: Obama's First Presidential Visit to New Orleans

1Obama Dookys.jpg 2Obama Scott NOLA.jpg 3Obama pic NOLA.jpg 4Obama NOLA MLK.jpg

5Obama NOLA 07.jpg 6Obama AF1 NOLA.jpg

(click for full size)

These thumbnails represent my photo edit of Obama’s visit to New Orleans yesterday, his first as President. (I should mention not all the photos are from this trip, though they are all circulating on the newswire as relevant to it.)

If you care to pick out your own lead in the meantime, be my guest. Otherwise, I’ll post my top choice below — along with rationale and analysis — by mid-day.


Update 11:15 am PST:

Obama AF1 NOLA.jpg

As a lead photo, I’m going with #6.

The responsible thing, since that is BHO’s mantra, would have been to get himself out, with the visual media, in front of the levees or into the wetlands (or next to those faulty pumps) where the real man-made danger is and remains.

As a result, I’m bypassing the cute picture with the kid who, among the seven questions in the town hall, wanted to know why everybody hates the President. And I’m also skipping the terribly heavy-handed analogy to MLK (who, I’m sure would have said: get to the levees, Barack!).

I’m also skipping #3 because it’s too obvious a slam on the White House visual motive (and more right wing bait for the “celebrity” attack).

I’m very interested in #5 from a historical perspective showing us then-Senator Obama way back in January ’07 touring the Lower 9th with Joe-mentum (before Obama put him in his place). I’m also wary of this pic, however, because of a tendency to conclude BHO, ever cerebral, was lost in his head and not really attending to the fallout (although Dennis Q’s comment in the thread is a nice counter to that).

#1 is a lot of fun, capturing candidate Obama at the famous Dooky Chase gumbo restaurant during the presidential campaign. In the context of yesterday, however, it’s quite a rip. Borrowing from my tweet last night: Whereas CANDIDATE Obama had gumbo at Dooky’s (in ’08), trip so short today they packed him some for the plane.

So, that leaves #6 — which is also dangerous if you take it too far, but also wonderful as commentary.

What we see in the picture is the Industrial Canal from Air Force One as Obama flies into town. Because the photo, in a perfectly delicious way, conjures Bush’s flyover, the danger is to slam Obama for being similarly out of touch. That’s ridiculous, of course, given all the visits by Obama cabinet member and officials to NO, and the long list of reconstruction activity etc., etc.

Still however, what’s “soaring” about the photo IS the fact Obama should have had gotten himself in front of those levees, and there, way down there, they are.


Here’s the main NOLA story on the visit. I thought the comment thread was particularly interesting.

Click through for photo credits and captions….1: In this Feb. 7, 2008, file photo then Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., smiles as he puts on a napkin before eating gumbo at Dooky Chase’s restaurant in New Orleans. Pizza in St. Louis, pancakes in Pittsburgh. A burger with spicy mustard or a chili half-smoke in D.C., soul food in Chicago. Call it the mouth that roared: Our president eats something and the world wants to eat it, too. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

2: U.S. President Barack Obama receives a question from Tyren Scott, 9, of Paulina Louisina, during a town hall style meeting at the University of New Orleans October 15, 2009. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

3: A person takes a photo of President Barack Obama at the end of a town hall meeting at the University of New Orleans in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

4: President Barack Obama visits the Dr. Martin Luther King Charter School in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, La., Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

5: In this Monday, Jan. 29, 2007 picture, Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., left, and Sen. Joe Lieberman ID-Conn. take a bus tour through the Lower 9th Ward after a Senate Homeland Security Committee on Katrina and Rita recovery in New Orleans. Lieberman has changed his tune on Obama. After campaigning for Republican John McCain in 2008 and attacking Obama as naive, Lieberman now in 2009 showers praise on the popular new Democratic president. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

6: The Lower 9th Ward, seen, bottom right beneath the wing, the Industrial Canal, and the Mississippi River, bottom of photo, are seen from Air Force One as President Barack Obama arrives in New Orleans, La., Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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Michael Shaw
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