In an emotional speech that decried the everyday nature of gun violence in New Orleans, Mayor Mitch Landrieu used his annual State of the City address Tuesday to unveil a comprehensive plan to reduce the city’s nation-leading murder rate. In a largely upbeat account of his administration’s first two years in office, Landrieu switched to a much more somber tone late in his remarks and argued that New Orleans cannot truly thrive until the violence epidemic ends.
“In the last 752 days, we’ve seen the good, the bad, the ugly … and the really ugly,” Landrieu said to a crowd gathered at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. “This whole speech can be summarized as follows: We found a mess, we made great progress and we have a long way to go.“Landrieu said his murder-reduction strategy, dubbed “NOLA for Life,” has five goals: stop the shooting; invest in prevention; promote jobs and opportunity; get residents involved in rebuilding neighborhoods; and improve the New Orleans Police Department.
The initiative includes 31 distinct programs — about 60 percent of which are already in place — designed to get at the root causes of murder. The methodology aligns with the mayor’s belief that the city’s crime problem should be targeted in much the way public health officials approach infectious diseases.