Mayor Mitch Landrieu and film director/producer Spike Lee want to change the attitudes of young African-American men heading down a path of destruction.
The two men introduced a multimedia, public awareness campaign called "Flip The Script" Tuesday evening at the Joy Theater.
"In almost every urban area, black men are killing black men, and I think it's at the point of genocide," said Lee.
Mayor Landrieu partnered with Lee and his international advertising agency, "Spike DDB," in an effort aimed at changing the attitudes of -- and about -- young, black men across New Orleans.
"And one of the things I'm committed to is trying to find an answer to that, to really get down in the deep and figure how to make the streets of New Orleans safe," said Mayor Landrieu.
"The numbers don't lie -- young black men are killing each other at an alarming rate, and this is a bold attempt to try and spotlight this issue," said Lee.
Landrieu says New Orleans has averaged 241 murders every year for the past 30 years. Now, he's hoping, with help from Spike Lee, that he can "Flip The Script."
"Right now they need something to turn this around. The issue is, do you turn the reality around, or do you change the perception? And this may be a perception play," said Tulane criminologist Peter Scharf.
Scharf says it will take more than another crime reduction initiative to change the course of violent crime in New Orleans.
"How do you change their value set and criminal thinking? If you can't do that, we're in for a rough ride,"warned Scharf.
The mayor says this campaign has one of the most powerful messages so far. The idea of flipping the script will turn negative headlines into positive ones highlighting changes and results.
"If you stop one young black man from killing another, it's a success," said Lee.