Over the course of his career, the general came to be known as a no-nonsense leader, a quality perhaps best exemplified in his slogan, “Don’t get stuck on stupid.”
Louisiana Gov. Jon Bel Edwards praised the news on Twitter, writing that Honoré was “a great choice” for the job. “He has and will serve our nation well,” the governor said.
He’s led the response to many disasters
Hailing from Lakeland, Louisiana, Honoré was commissioned as a second lieutenant of the infantry in 1971 upon graduating with a degree in vocational agriculture from Southern University and A&M College.
Honoré served in a variety of infantry command positions throughout his career and took command of the First Army based at Fort Gillem outside Atlanta. He also served as the vice director for operations, J-3, The Joint Staff, Pelosi noted, focusing on military support to civil authorities.
Before the fateful 2005 hurricane season, Honoré had helped coordinate US response to flooding in Venezuela in 1999 and Mozambique in 2000, according to his website.
Praised for leadership after Katrina
But Honoré commanded the nation’s attention in 2005 when he led the Defense Department’s response to Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.
He told everyone he saw to point their weapons down, reminding National Guardsmen and New Orleans police officers that they were not deployed to Iraq, according to CNN’s Barbara Starr, who was embedded with Honoré.
“He came off the doggone chopper and he started cussing and people started moving,” Nagin said.
The mother, Alexandra Wheeler, told CNN she credited Honoré with saving her twins’ lives. Wheeler and Honoré met again in 2017 and Wheeler told the retired general, “We are eternally grateful to you for that.”
CNN’s Stephanie Elam contributed to this report.