David Winkler-Schmit is at UNO for the president's town hall, where he met Aretha Etienne, who has come with a message for President Barack Obama.
Etienne, 40, who is from Plaquemines Parish, lost her home in Hurricane Katrina. Unable to get an LRA loan, she took out a bank loan of $70,000 and an SBA individual loan for $262,000. Today, she lives in Marrero and works as a 911 supervisor and assistant administrator for the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office. She has two children, both in college; Maria, 18, is a student at UNO.
"I am here to ask forgiveness of individual SBA loans," Etienne says. Right now, 75% of her income goes to paying off her existing loans, "and we have to live off the rest." She has sent letters to state representatives and Sen. David Vitter, but they haven't been encouraging.
"Everything I hear is [Obama] isn't going to do it," Etienne says. "So I'm here to ask him myself."