NEWORLEANS-- Mayor Mitch Landrieu told 200 business leaders at a Bureau of Governmental Research breakfast that stopping violence and murders involving young people is essential.
'It begins with a laser-like focus on a number of young men who are killing each other,' Landrieu said.
'Step one is to stop the bleeding, stop the death, stop the shooting, stop the shooting, stop the shooting.'
The mayor's team has a plan called 'NOLA For Life' that is designed to stop the shooting by giving those involved meaningful alternatives. So he is making an offer to the young people involved.
'You have to put down the guns,' he said. 'If they make the right choice and accept this offer, we have service providers across the city ready to stand with us to give these young men education, housing, and jobs. They will go to the front of the line.'
He asked the business leaders in the audience to get involved and provide summer jobs for young people.
'It is essential that everyone of them has something constructive to do. You will learn something from them, and they wil learn somethig from you.'
Landrieu said a key element is reforming the New Orleans Police Department, with programs like a Multi-Agency Gang Unit.
'Young men in this city don't think there is a consequence to their action because your crimninal justice system is not a system at all.'
And he issued a challenge to the city's youth.
'If you or anyone else around you that we know shoots somebody else, we're coming after you, and your friends.'
The mayor concluded he will talk about the 'NOLA for Life program,' in his words, every day, 'because we have to fix this issue.' That's how important it is to him.