The Obama administration inherited the Gulf Coast in mid-recovery and at a point when many of us are completely frustrated with government. The distress Americans feel about job losses and declining home values is magnified here by the devastation left by broken levees and hurricane-force winds. We are fixated as a community ... on the question of where the rebuilding of greater New Orleans will rank in the new president's agenda.

On the administration's first post-inaugural visit, there were hopeful signs. Like so many visitors before them, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and HUD Secretary Shaun DonovanShaun L. S. DonovanYang: 'Defund the police is the wrong approach for New York City' New York mayoral candidates go viral for vastly underestimating housing costs Five things to watch in the New York City mayoral race MORE undoubtedly benefited from seeing the ruins and rebuilding first-hand.

... Mr. Donovan and Ms. Napolitano both took the opportunity to announce federal recovery initiatives that made their visit more than a look-and-listen tour. That is smart politics.

... President Obama also chose the new director of FEMA Wednesday and sent him along on the trip to Louisiana. ... [H]aving a FEMA director who understands the mess made by hurricanes ought to give Louisianians comfort.

Better yet, if the Obama administration can cut through the bureaucratic impediments holding back $4 billion in recovery aid, it will endear itself to thousands of disaster victims weary from the wait. ...