Building resilience at the local level: A conversation with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu - AEI

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Event Summary

On Tuesday at AEI, New Orleans’ Mayor Mitch Landrieu reflected on his experiences with governing at the local level and the progress New Orleans has made during his time in office. Having inherited a city struggling with numerous challenges, he recounted how his administration worked to rebuild a foundation for the future through a method he described as “the will and the way.” Rather than trying to restore the city to the way it was before, Mayor Landrieu said the people of New Orleans found the will to rebuild the city as it should have been by taking an “everybody-in” approach to enact reforms, insisting on vertical and horizontal integration.

In a conversation with AEI’s Norman J. Ornstein, Mayor Landrieu talked about how New Orleans has taken steps to address long-standing divisions, such as reforming policing practices to improve relations between police and communities of color. Contrasting federal government with local government, Mayor Landrieu said mayors have no choice but to overcome various divisions in order to move forward because they deal with concrete problems that affect the people they personally interact with in their day-to-day lives. He emphasized that innovation and change at the city level can have national impacts.

— Eleanor O’Neil

Event Description

When Mitch Landrieu became mayor of New Orleans in 2010, he inherited a city struggling with stalled post-disaster recovery and persistent economic and social problems. At this event, Mayor Landrieu will reflect on how his city has worked to rebuild physically and economically, to reform local government institutions, and to address police-community relations, high crime rates, and long-standing class and racial fissures. He will discuss the challenges that remain for New Orleans and the lessons New Orleans’ comeback story offers for other cities around the country about resilience and making government work.

Join the conversation on social media with @AEI on Twitter and Facebook.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


10:15 AM

10:30 AM
Norman J. Ornstein, AEI

10:35 AM
Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans

10:55 AM
Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans
Norman J. Ornstein, AEI

11:15 AM

11:30 AM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Eleanor O’Neil at [email protected], 202.862.5899.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries or to register a camera crew, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829

Speaker Biographies

Mitch Landrieu was sworn in as the 61st mayor of New Orleans on May 3, 2010. Since then, New Orleans has become one of the fastest-growing major cities in America and added over 15,000 new jobs. Much of the growth and redevelopment has been spurred by the mayor’s place-based development strategy, clustering major public investments to spur private investment and growth. By fighting for more funding from the federal government, Mayor Landrieu also secured over $3 billion more from FEMA for critical infrastructure and capital improvements to drive New Orleans’ recovery, including new funds for road and drainage projects, park and playground renovations, and new criminal justice facilities. Among the issues closest to the mayor is reducing the city’s notoriously high murder rate. In 2012, Mayor Landrieu launched NOLA FOR LIFE, a comprehensive murder-reduction strategy, and since its inception, the murder rate in New Orleans has decreased nearly 20 percent, to the lowest levels in decades.

Norman J. Ornstein is a resident scholar at AEI, where he studies politics, elections, and the US Congress. He is a cohost of AEI’s Election Watch series, a contributing editor and columnist for National Journal and The Atlantic, a BBC News election analyst, and the chairman of the Campaign Legal Center. Dr. Ornstein previously served as codirector of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project and senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission. A longtime observer and analyst of American politics and the US Congress, he has been involved in political reform for decades, particularly campaign finance reform and the reform of Senate committees. He also played a role in creating the Congressional Office of Compliance and the House Office of Congressional Ethics. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. He was named one of 100 top global thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine in 2012. His many books include “One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported,” with E. J. Dionne and Thomas E. Mann (St. Martin’s Press, 2017), and the New York Times bestseller “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism” with Thomas Mann (Basic Books, 2012), which was named Book of the Year by Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog, one of the 10 best books on politics in 2012 by The New Yorker, and one of the best books of 2012 by The Washington Post. The book’s revised edition, “It’s Even Worse Than It Was,” was published in April 2016.

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