NEW ORLEANS — Mayor Mitch Landrieu called New Orleans’ problem with violent crime the city’s most urgent challenge during his annual state of the city address Tuesday.
But the mayor said the city is on the right path, with murders down 25 percent compared to this point in 2011 and 15 percent compared to this point in 2012.
There were 193 murders in 2012.
“We are building the city we always wanted it to be,” Landrieu said, before walking off to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings’ ‘This Land Is Your Land.’
“We deserve the best. We like it and we want more of it. But we have to keep going, one step at a time.”
The message was delivered Tuesday at the Treme Community Center, a recently finished structure meant to be a beacon for the historic district just outside of the French Quarter and what Landrieu called a foundation and symbol for the city’s future.
The mayor said solutions to the two federal consent decrees will be found, expressing that problems with Orleans Parish Prison have less to do with money than management.
Landrieu said everyone is learning what residents always tout – the city is “the coolest city in America” – and he said New Orleans has done it by spending $40 million less per year than before his administration took office.
He said the city has cut, reorganized and invested in what matters most to the city, consolidating departments while cutting millions in contracts to help have balanced budget for the past three years.
The city is getting stronger, he said, be it through infrastructure repair, jobs added through public-private partnerships or the streamlining of permit processing.
Millions of dollars have been spent on fixing streets, including what Landrieu termed 90 major street projects that included 33 miles of fixed streets.