The Student News Site of Dillard University


The Student News Site of Dillard University


The Student News Site of Dillard University


    What can make N.O. grow?


    NEW ORLEANS (April 11, 2013)-Three urban leaders offered strategies for New Orleans’ economic growth and outlined critical policies to manage a diverse city during a panel discussion that looked at Atlanta’s successes March 12 in Georges Auditorium.

    Mayor Mitch Landrieu, former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young offered their ideas on how New Orleans could become a more prosperous, thriving city before an audience of about 150 people from the community. The topic was “New Orleans in the 21st Century: Lessons from the Making of Modern Atlanta.”

    Morial is now chief executive officer of the National Urban League.

    Young, a longtime civil rights leader and minister who served in Congress and became the 14th U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, now leads the Andrew J. Young Foundation, with the mission of supporting and promoting education, health, leadership and human rights in the United States and abroad. Born in New Orleans to a dentist and schoolteacher, Young celebrated his 81st birthday on the day of the event.

    Norman Robinson, senior news anchor for WDSU-TV, was moderator.

    The central question was how New Orleans could replicate Young’s success in Atlanta, where as mayor, he sought out international markets for investments and attracted 1,100 new businesses, $70 billion in investment and 1 million jobs to the region during his tenure. He also brought the Summer Olympics to Atlanta in 1996.

    Young said a visionary leader must be “crazy.”

    “You have to be crazy. People thought I was crazy when I said I was going to get the Olympics,” said Young.

    Landrieu agreed, saying if you think crazy enough and big enough, your dreams could come into fruition.

    Of New Orleans, Young said, “Technology is here and business is here; we just need a political vision. Where there is no vision the people parish.”

    Landrieu said the burdens of the moment make it hard for residents to see the big picture and what New Orleans could be. The mayor reminded the audience that while the city now has 360,000 residents, New Orleans in 1960 had more people than Houston or Atlanta.

    “If we were bigger once, we can be bigger again,” said Landrieu, “We are not a small city because we don’t have the space.”

    Morial stated that it’s a new time, and the city might need new leadership. He said New Orleans needs to bridge the gap and create new ideas for job and economic provisions in the nation.

    “Economic inclusion should be on the lips of every politician,” said Morial.

    Morial said Atlanta today is a great example of economic growth.

    “The real difference between Atlanta and New Orleans is that Atlanta accepted early the idea that the only way for there to be growth and development is to have a vibrant, strong, participating black community.”

    Young disagreed with Morial, saying, “Once you make it a racial issue, you hurt yourself. It has never been a black or white issue; it has always been a green issue.”

    Young suggested that even creating a new airport could provide the same kind of economic benefits as it did in Atlanta. Landrieu said he wasn’t making a public announcement, but the likelihood is very good.

    The three leaders mentioned the need for young people to participate in government and seek public office. Morial said it’s never too early to prepare, but young people need to pay their dues.

    “You need to have a serving gene in you. You have to be grounded in purpose,” said Morial. He described how Ernest Morial, his father andNew Orleans’ first African American mayor, and Moon Landrieu, the current mayor’s father and also a former mayor, had that serving gene and used it to work for the community.

     “You can make more in a growing economy than you could steal in a dying economy. Nothing you can do happens worthwhile in one generation. Grow your economy,” said Young. 

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    What can make N.O. grow?