Inside the restored Carver Theatre in Treme, Mayor Mitch Landrieu took to the stage to deliver his annual State of the City address.
Landrieu highlighted the city's resilience after Hurricane Katrina, as well as job growth and stubborn problems like crime.
"The people of New Orleans rose from our knees, defiantly stood up and said, 'we've been through Hell and high water, Katrina, Rita, Ike, Gustav, the BP spill, the national recession, all of it, but we won't bow down, because we don't know how,'” Landrieu said.
Landrieu said the city's economy is a bright spot. His administration said 9,100 jobs have been added in five years due to growth in the retail and restaurant sectors, as well as the ongoing rebuilding.
“There have been many fits and starts, big sacrifices and incredible successes,” Landrieu said.
But despite the obvious rebuilding in many New Orleans neighborhoods, the mayor acknowledged during his speech that the city is still fighting a recalcitrant crime problem.
"There is no other higher priority than making our city safe,” he said.
“Certainly we have shown our resilience as the mayor mentioned. We're continuing to grow, we look forward to bringing more businesses here. Crime has remained an issue,” said City Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey, who represents the French Quarter and Algiers.
UNO Political Scientist Ed Chervenak noted how the mayor's address Thursday differed from some of his previous speeches.
“It was a much different this time around. In previous addresses, he would basically put out a lot of metrics indicating the progress in the city. This time he was much more personal. We saw personal testimonials at the beginning of the address,” Chervenak said.
And with Katrina a constant theme during Landrieu's speech, the city plans months-long commemorative activities called “K10-Resilient New Orleans” leading up to the Aug. 29 anniversary.
While the city prepares to look back at Katrina, the Landrieu administration is also looking ahead to the city's 300th birthday in 2018.
"We have three years to build on the work done to create a city of peace, opportunity and responsibility for all people,” the mayor said.
Landrieu also said city government still faces financial challenges, including the firefighters' pension fund and costly court-mandated reform at Orleans Parish Prison.
For updates on the Katrina recovery and the city's 10th anniversary planning go to http://katrina10.org/
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