Connecting state and local government leaders
In an interview with Route Fifty, Landrieu talks policing and the “entrepreneurial” bent that drives mayors of all political stripes.
This is the eleventh in a series of Route Fifty video interviews with mayors who are in Austin, Texas, for SXSW. Previously, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo , West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon , Denver Mayor Michael Hancock , Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett , Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia , District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser , Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer , Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer .
In the last 45 days, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s city has faced a tornado, hosted the NBA All-Star Game and held its annual Mardi Gras festivities. To say the Big Easy has had its hands full is an understatement.
“New Orleans has really been under it for a while. We had Katrina, Rita, Ike, Gustav, the national recession; we had instances with the police department and the community; we have had major sporting events,” explained Landrieu. “We need to be able to secure the streets of the city whether it’s a natural disaster, a man-made disaster, a terrorist attack, all of those things are things we work on all the time.”
Landrieu is a Democrat who currently serves as the vice president of the non-partisan U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors recently sent the administration a document called “ Secure America ,” which calls for a wide spectrum of investment in policing and homeland security. Landrieu reflected on the document explaining, “There’s a lot going on and we need more resources not less, and we need to focus our attention on how to make the community and police work together as opposed to separating us.”
To discuss it with Landrieu, though, facing those problems as they come is just part of being a mayor.
“Obviously we’re very concerned about what goes on in Washington … but we’re mostly concerned about the day-to-day operations of our cities,” Landrieu explained. “We’re not ideologically bent, we have to find answers to problems … At an instance like this at SXSW, when we can be in the presence of the best minds in the country on technology and thinking about applications it has for cities, it’s really a wonderful thing.”
“Cities are really the hubs of innovation now,” explained Landrieu. “It’s not just because we’re better, it’s because necessity requires us to be there all the time everyday--and if you don’t get ahead of it you get run over.”
Mitch Herckis is Senior Program Manager at Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.