Biography of Mitchell J. Landrieu
Mitch Landrieu was sworn in as the 61st Mayor of New Orleans on May 3, 2010 with a clear mandate to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity in New Orleans. On February 1, 2014, Mayor Landrieu was overwhelmingly reelected to a second term and is continuing to deliver major victories. He is the first mayor in the city to be elected by majorities of both white and African-American voters, a feat he accomplished twice.
Under Landrieu, New Orleans has become America’s best comeback story and one of the fastest growing major cities in America. Since 2010, New Orleans has been ranked as the #1 metropolitan area for overall economic recovery by the Brookings Institute and as America’s Best City for School Reform by the Fordham Institute. New Orleans also received the World Tourism Award for outstanding accomplishments in the travel and hospitality industry. Now, the city is continuing to progress toward its 300th anniversary in 2018.
As Mayor, Landrieu committed to make safer by reforming the New Orleans Police Department and launching NOLA FOR LIFE, a comprehensive strategy to tackle the city’s historically high murder rate with a focus on prevention, intervention, enforcement and rehabilitation. There are early signs of progress - violent crime is trending down, and 2014 saw the lowest number of murders in 43 years.
Since taking office, Landrieu has also worked vigorously to promote economic growth in New Orleans. He created the first ever public-private partnership for economic development, the NOLA Business Alliance. As a result, the city has seen private sector job growth, major new retailers, new private investment, and encouraging entrepreneurship. In 2012, the NOLA Business Alliance unveiled a five-year plan called ProsperityNOLA that targets five sectors to drive economic growth. Building on that work and to address income inequality, in September 2014, Landrieu also introduced a comprehensive strategy to connect disadvantaged job seekers and businesses to new opportunities, unveiling an economic opportunity strategy and the Network for Economic Opportunity. Landrieu also raised the City employee minimum wage to $10.10, setting an example for public and private bodies to pay a living wage.
Landrieu has initiated a strategy that has reduced overall blight by 15,000 properties since 2010, the most aggressive blight reduction in the country. He also secured over a billion new dollars from FEMA for critical infrastructure and capital improvements to get New Orleans’ recovery going, including new funds for road and drainage projects, park and playground renovations, and new criminal justice facilities.
Landrieu began his term facing a nearly $100 million mid-year budget hole, about 20 percent of City Hall’s overall budget, that he closed by cutting smart and reorganizing City services. To keep the budget balanced, he again cut spending in 2011 and 2012, while still delivering better services. Today, the City is seeing unprecedented sales and property tax growth due to the work done to make tough choices in the early years of his administration. The City has also leveraged over $100 million in private, philanthropic and federal grant funds for key priorities.
Landrieu has also focused on making City Hall more business and customer-friendly. Overall customer service improvements at City Hall have included launching a One Stop Shop for licenses and permits, adding a 311 service where residents can get key information and make requests for basic City services, and launching the first ever online notification tool to inform citizens of land-use changes.
Mayor Landrieu has and remains committed to dramatically improving the accountability, transparency and performance of the New Orleans City government. In January 2011, Mayor Landrieu created the Office of Performance and Accountability (OPA) to implement a performance management system in which the City sets goals, tracks performance and gets better results through data-driven management, decision making and accountability to residents. In July 2014, the City of New Orleans was one of 29 jurisdictions recognized for superior performance management efforts by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) with a Certificate of Excellence from the ICMA Center for Performance Analytics. In addition to the ResultsNOLA report, OPA developed a series of monthly STAT programs, or data-driven performance review meetings, for key initiatives. BlightSTAT, QualityofLifeSTAT, BottomLineSTAT ReqtoCheckSTAT and CustomerServiceSTAT meetings are open to the public.
Throughout his years of public service, Mitch has governed by the philosophy that we are “one team, one fight, one voice, and one city.” Prior to becoming mayor, Landrieu served as Louisiana’s Lieutenant Governor for six years, leading the effort to rebuild the tourism industry and the tens of thousands of jobs it creates. During his tenure, he launched the Cultural Economy Initiative to quantify and grow jobs in Louisiana’s culture, music, food, film and art industries. He also created the first in the nation Office of Social Entrepreneurship to advance social innovation by supporting the creation and growth of the most innovate, measurable and sustainable solutions to the social problems affecting Louisiana's citizens.
At the State, Landrieu led the legislative effort to reform Louisiana's juvenile justice system with a focus on rehabilitation and reform as opposed to punishment and incarceration. As Lieutenant Governor, he continued to chair the Juvenile Justice Commission, the entity created by the legislation to implement the reforms.
Both as Lieutenant Governor and Mayor, Landrieu gained extensive experience overseeing homeland security and emergency preparedness efforts. As Lieutenant Governor, he was the second-in-command in the State’s Emergency Operations Center for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Gustav. As Mayor, Landrieu has led preparedness, response, and recovery operations for Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Isaac, as well as homeland security operations for major special events including Mardi Gras and Super Bowl XLVII.
Prior to becoming Louisiana’s Lieutenant Governor, Landrieu represented the Broadmoor neighborhood in the Louisiana House of Representatives for 16 years, where he established a record as a reformer. He also had a successful law practice for 15 years and became an expert mediator, focusing on alternative dispute resolution.
Landrieu was educated at Jesuit High School of New Orleans, Catholic University in Washington D.C., and earned a law degree from Loyola University. He is the son of Moon and Verna Landrieu and grew up the fifth of nine children in the Broadmoor neighborhood, where he developed a love for the city. Today, the Mayor and his wife Cheryl, who is a lawyer serving as Clerk of the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, are raising five children of their own.