According to MSNBC’s Brian Williams, thirty minutes before his visit, they turned on. And then an hour later, they went back out (Thanks Mike Nelson!):
I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It’s enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it… jump to certain conclusions.
Like what? That someone hooked a generator up to some powerline so that Bush could give another vacuous speech on top of a disaster, promising to fix all our worldly problems?
I believe that the great city of New Orleans will rise again and be a greater city of New Orleans. (Applause.) I believe the town where I used to come from, Houston, Texas, to enjoy myself — occasionally too much — (laughter) — will be that very same town, that it will be a better place to come to.