President Back in the Big Easy

The president was back on the ground in New Orleans Sunday, ready to tour devastated areas first thing in Monday morning.

Touching down on the U.S.S. Iwo Jima in New Orleans, President Bush began his third visit to the hurricane-ravaged south.

President Bush met with the commander of the relief efforts and the mayor of New Orleans, both still working hard to reclaim the big easy. The search for survivors is still on, but winding down.

The focus now is locating bodies and the occasional pet. More than half of the city is still flooded, but pumps are working and the water is dropping an average of six to 12 inches per day. What remains is contaminated and toxic.

Samuel Coleman with the Superfun Division said, "The most significant result we found were high levels of ecoli, found in human waste."

And the water is stagnant, which makes it a perfect breeding ground for disease-carrying flies and mosquitoes. The Health Department plans to start spraying pesticide here Monday.

The folks in an area just south of New Orleans escaped the flooding, and thousands returned home Sunday. What they found was still painful.

But most admit they fared better than their neighbors to the north. Storm survivor Alefitha Black added, "You know you’re blessed that you have your life, compared to the people in New Orleans. I'm blessed."

With power and water returning to some isolated areas and cleanup underway, there is a sense of that the hopelessness that gripped the city is beginning to lift.