Mitch Landrieu
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Mitch Landrieu

Mayor, City of New Orleans (2010–2018)

An inspiring, no-nonsense leader and social justice champion, Mitch Landrieu stepped up at a time when New Orleans needed help. The former mayor shares stories about this once-descending city and his efforts to put NOLA on the map as a great American comeback story.

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Governing in the Age of Trump

Our country has never experienced an administration quite like our present one, where ongoing negative rhetoric, alternative facts and chaos seem to be the order of the day. In today’s divided political climate, Mitch Landrieu, former mayor of New Orleans, believes Washington must stop being so ideologically bent and become problem-solvers. “Compromise” is not a dirty word. Parties must find common ground and come to resolution on complicated issues such as infrastructure, tax reform, immigration, and access to healthcare. In this timely presentation, Landrieu discusses how we need to create a condition in this country where everybody is working, has access to healthcare, and feels like they’re being treated fairly by the justice system. When we are actually working together versus apart, there’s nobody in the world that can come close to competing with the U.S. Drawing from his firsthand experience as a two-term mayor and lieutenant governor, who turned a descending city into an ascending one, Landrieu can be paired with a Republican to speak on the following topics as they pertain to
governing in a Trump era:

  • Growth potential of cities
  • Insight into race relations
  • Criminal justice system
  • Ethical leadership
  • Climate change
  • Public finance
  • Infrastructure

Lessons in Rebuilding New Orleans

In the wake of the most expensive devastation from a natural or man-made disaster, New Orleans has become one of the nation’s best comeback stories—resurrection and redemption coming from the most unlikely of places. Restructuring the city, and not putting it back the way it was, meant reorganizing the budget and turning education, healthcare, the criminal justice system, and government around. New Orleans overhauled its public school system to a 100 percent charter school model, reimagined its public housing model, and made healthcare more accessible. The New Orleans Police Department was reformed and the comprehensive murder-reduction strategy, NOLA for Life, along with its groundbreaking initiatives (a Multi-Agency Gang Unit and CeaseFire), were implemented. Under the leadership of former mayor Mitch Landrieu, the economy is growing and diversifying. In this inspiring presentation, Landrieu reveals to audiences how the people of NOLA had the ability to see beauty even when everything was lost after Hurricane Katrina. He also discusses why it is important to not only rebuild what was but imagine what could have always been.

Courage in Times of Crisis

As lieutenant governor of Louisiana, Mitch Landrieu helped lead the state through Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. He also led the city and state through Hurricanes Rita, Gustav, Ike, and Isaac, the BP oil spill, and a national recession. When he was sworn in as the 61st Mayor of New Orleans in May 2010, the recovery from Hurricane Katrina had stalled, the city teetered on bankruptcy and the New Orleans Police Department was under federal investigation. Under Landrieu, New Orleans has become one of America’s great comeback stories. He kick-started the recovery by fast-tracking over 100 projects and securing billions in federal funding for schools, hospitals, parks and recreation and critical infrastructure. He brought sound fiscal management, balanced budgets and ethical contracting to City Hall, leading to the city’s highest-ever credit rating and over $8 billion in private development. By making public safety a top priority, Landrieu reformed the police department and implemented the cutting-edge murder-reduction strategy, NOLA for Life, which led to a nearly 20 percent decrease in the city’s murder rate. In this presentation, Landrieu reveals how his post-disaster leadership skills and innovation helped pull his city through crisis and become more resilient. With his Southern wit and charm, he shares with audiences:

  • How clear command, control and communication can get you through any crisis
  • How his philosophy of “facilitate, link and leverage” brings people together to move forward
  • Why ethical leadership is good for business
  • Why the future of America runs through cities

Making Straight What Has Been Crooked: How Do We Tell Our History? Whose Voices Are Heard? What Role Does Politics Play?

Mitch Landrieu, former mayor of New Orleans and author of New York Times best seller In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History, discusses those questions and more in facing the truth about our past to chart a new path forward. He takes on the mythologies that propel the alt-right movement and talks honestly about America’s original sin, so that we can finally consign that chapter of our nation’s past to history. In May 2017, as New Orleans’ Confederate monuments came down on his orders—a powerful and courageous decision that earned him the prestigious John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award—Landrieu stepped forward to tell the people of his city why this decision had been made and delivered what has been called by many, “The Speech.” As racial tensions have risen in recent years, the debate over the remembrance of a conflict more than 150 years ago continues to roil passions today. Landrieu turns his sights from Confederate statue removal to tackling the broader history of slavery, race, and institutional inequalities that still plague America. He cuts through decades of rancor and, without any recrimination, issues a sound verdict on the right thing to do. Landrieu believes New Orleans and its people showed the whole world they were able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile and most importantly, choose a better future for themselves by making straight what has been crooked and making right what was wrong.

Meet Mitch Landrieu

An inspiring, no-nonsense leader and social justice champion, Mitch Landrieu stepped up at a time when New Orleans needed help. The former mayor shares stories about this once-descending city and his efforts to put NOLA on the map as a great American comeback story.

When Mitch Landrieu was sworn in as the 61st Mayor of New Orleans, he inherited a city in turmoil. NOLA and its people were still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. The city was on the brink of bankruptcy, had the highest-in-the-nation murder rate, and a police department under federal investigation.

Under his inspiring leadership, New Orleans is recognized as one of the nation’s great comeback stories. The economy is growing and diversifying, in large part due to collaborative efforts Landrieu supported during his time in office. He fast-tracked several projects and secured billions in federal funding for schools, hospitals, parks and recreation, and critical infrastructure. He also brought sound fiscal management, balanced budgets, ethical contracting, and transparency to City Hall. And, by making public safety a top priority, Landrieu reformed the police department and drove down the city’s record number of homicides. Through implementation of NOLA for Life, a cutting-edge murder-reduction strategy, he drove a nearly 20 percent decrease in the city’s murder rate.

In 2016, Landrieu was voted “America’s top turnaround mayor” in a survey of mayors, compiled by Politico. He gained national prominence for his historical and powerful decision to take down four Confederate monuments in New Orleans, delivering a riveting speech that was lauded by the New York Times’s Frank Bruni as “the masterpiece we needed at the moment we needed it.” The courage and leadership Landrieu showed in advocating and overseeing the removal of the statues also earned him the prestigious John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. In his New York Times best-selling book, In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History, Landrieu recounts his personal journey confronting racism, and tackles the broader history of slavery, race relations, and institutional inequalities that still plague America.

Growing up in a politically active and socially conscious family, Landrieu’s political roots run deep in Louisiana, where he served two terms as lieutenant governor and 16 years in the state legislature. He also served as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

As New Orleans celebrates its tricentennial, Landrieu speaks passionately about how, in the face of adversity, this once-descending city rebounded and its people became more resilient. He offers a firsthand perspective on post-disaster leadership and how good models of governance and innovation – especially in today’s divided political climate – can be applied successfully across the country, and the world.

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Best-Selling Author, Leonardo da Vinci (2017), The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (2014) and Steve Jobs (2011); Acclaimed Historian and Journalist; Professor of History, Tulane University