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NEWORLEANS-- It's been said that in Louisiana politics, anything can happen and it usually does.

Consider the case of Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu. In July, Landrieu said he would not be a candidate for Mayor of New Orleans. Tuesday morning, he told a gathering at Cafe Reconcile in Central City, he's had a change of heart.

'I come to you today to tell you that I am going to run for mayor of the city of New Orleans,' said Landrieu.

Landrieu said his campaign will focus on three issues: crime, schools and jobs.

'If I am blessed to become mayor of the city of New Orleans, I will do everything I can to make sure that I bring the people of this city together to heal the racial divide that has kept us apart for so long,' said Landrieu.

Landrieu joins an already crowded field of at least seven other major candidates.

He said he doesn't regret the about-face and his decision to jump into the race, one day before qualifying begins.

'If something comes to you and you feel very strongly, as I said in there, you have to go where you think you can best serve and you can be the most effective,' said Landrieu. 'I feel like the mayor's office is. I think it where the rebuilding of New Orleans will center around.'

Eyewitness News political analyst Clancy DuBos said Landrieu will have a lot of explaining to do on the campaign trail.

'He's going to have to walk across some hot coals,' said DuBos. 'He talked inside about discernment, which is a Catholic theological process of praying and weighing a decision. I think that's what he was doing.'

This will be Landrieu's third shot at the mayors office. He lost in 1994, and four years ago incumbent Ray Nagin beat him by only 5000 votes. Nagin is term limited this time around.

'Landrieu has to put together a campaign very quickly,' said DuBos. 'But, having done this twice before, I don't think there's going to be a lot of wasted motion on his part. So, he'll be a very formidable candidate. He's probably the front runner right now.'

'I feel very good about it,' said Landrieu. 'I'm 100 percent in. I am very committed to make sure New Orleans stands up, because where New Orleans goes, the rest of the state goes. I just think it's a wonderful opportunity.'

Qualifying for the Feb. 6 primary is Wednesday through Friday.

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