NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - "Our population is growing. Our property values are up. Our neighborhoods are coming back strong," says Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
Touting a long list of what he calls successes of 2014, Landrieu believes New Orleans is on a roll. In addition to balancing the budget for a fifth straight year, Landrieu says City Hall reforms, economic development and infrastructure improvements made a difference.
The Mayor says 3,700 new jobs were created in 2014.
"We had a startling statistic this year - 52 percent of African-American males in New Orleans are not working," says Judy Reese Morse.
The Deputy Mayor of Citywide Iniatives says that statistic led to the creation of an economic opportunity strategy.
"That strategy really seeks to connect individuals that are looking for work with individuals who have work to offer," says Reese-Morse.
"I am very optimistic that our best days are ahead of us, but we no doubt have our challenges," says Mayor Landrieu.
One of those challenges is crime. Despite an decrease in the murder rate, armed robberies are up nearly 38 percent a year.
"We're going to take a stab out of these high-crime areas, that we're seeing in robberies and other violent crimes," says Latoya Cantrell.
"One of the ways we're doing that is by adding new police officers," says Mayor Landrieu.
Landrieu says the city is working to not only aggressively recruit new officers but to retain those who are already on the force.
"We budgeted for 150 new officers in 2015. To retain officers, we got a 5 percent pay raise across the board," says Chief Michael Harrison.
When it comes to quality-of-life issues, the city says it filled 25,000 potholes and cleaned 3,000 catch basins.
The city also says 95 percent of street lights are operational.