NEW ORLEANS -- Mayor Mitch Landrieu's last day in office is Sunday, May 6. As he joked a few months back, he'll be second-lining from the Fairgrounds to the French Quarter after Jazz Fest wraps on Sunday evening.
News with a Twist host LBJ sat down with Landrieu to talk about his eight years in office.
Here's what he had to say:
LBJ: The economy. Where did we start, and where are we now?
Mayor Landrieu: We inherited a very broken city that had just been beaten down. Unemployment was at 8.6%. Now it's at 4.7%. We created 20,000 new jobs, brought all kinds of new businesses here -- the biggest economic development the city has had. We brought retail back. We have a brand new billion-dollar international airport. It will be finished next February, and it is the biggest project the city has done in its history. It's bigger than the Superdome. It's bigger than the Sewerage and Water Board, and it's going to be drop-dead gorgeous. Economically the city is on a roll.
LBJ: What about the city's crime problem?
Mayor Landrieu: When we came into office, we had a police department that was under indictment. We had the federal government coming in, wanting to do a consent decree. We had the Danziger Bridge incident. We had a complete rupture between the police department and the community. You can't fix that in eight years.
LBJ: What have you learned?
Mayor Landrieu: Let me say this. You have to completely rebuild the sewer, water and drainage system. It's the most immediate issue I think the city faces.
LBJ: The monuments: Do you regret anything?
Mayor Landrieu: No, I think we lead the nation. The attitude that kept them up was one of exclusion. It's one that sent 5 million African-Americans out of the South. The process that we went through was the most democratic process in the country. We had 4 massive public hearings. The Legislature considered it. The court considered it. We took them down in a safe and a thoughtful way. I'm very proud of that.
"There is no other place like New Orleans. We occupy a really mythical space in the imagination in the country and the world, and it has been a great joy."