Mayor Landrieu sees promise ahead as he begins second term

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 5, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Updated Monday, May 5 at 5:46 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- Let's get back to work -- that was the theme of Mitch Landrieu's address after taking the oath of office for his second term as New Orleans mayor.

"No matter how low the valley, how wide the river, how dark the night, how dangerous the path, we will find a brighter time, a better place, a better life for each of us and for each of our children," Landrieu said.

A packed Saenger Theater watched the inaugural ceremony. Landrieu picked the iconic venue as a symbol of what his administration accomplished during his first four years.

"$53 million in renovations, now the nicest theater in America, along with new streets, new playgrounds, police stations, fire stations, parks, libraries," he said.

Landrieu challenged local leaders and average citizens to help him complete his ambitious reform agenda. The list includes zero failing schools, more new jobs so Katrina-scattered families can come home, blight reduction and safer streets.

"We have to stop the shooting," said Landrieu. "We have to stop the violence. We have to stop the madness. New Orleans can and will become a city of peace."

He admits there will be tough decisions over the next four years.

"We have to find a way to pay for looming liabilities from the firefighters pension fund and federal consent decrees and build a police department with 1,600 officers so we can make our city safe."

Landrieu is in the process of laying out options for citizens and the City Council. They include more cuts or possible new revenue, such as the doubling of the property tax for police and fire protection, and a significant increase in the hotel occupancy tax.

There has already been push-back from tourism leaders and some members of the state legislature which must approve the new tax measures.

"If you don't want to pay for them, then we have to take the sacrifices of the cuts," Landrieu said. "Everybody says we need this, we need that, but when you say, but we got to pay for it, everybody says don't look at me."

Some people are now asking what's next for Mitch Landrieu. Pundits have suggested the former lieutenant governor may run for governor.

That doesn't appear to be on his radar screen, at least for now.

"In politics, you never say never about anything, but my focus has always been and will continue being the mayor of New Orleans, so that I can lead help lead this city and serve the people through what I think is going to be a very, very difficult 4 years, for us," Landrieu said. "We're not out of the woods yet."

The next race for Louisiana governor will be in October 2015.

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