tv C-SPAN Programming CSPAN August 25, 2015 5:14am-6:54am EDT
righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. we claim that promise tonight. father god. tells us to bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of christ. are not standing alone. surrounded bying with prayerotection warriors and intercessors in this room, across the state, across this nation, across this world. the body of christ is standing together. celebrating their kurds and praying for peace. currentrating their --courage and praying for peace.
for the peace that surpasses all understanding. father god, we claim the promise of psalms 35, that tells us we -- weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. we claim that promise together. we celebrate. and we thank you. for your everlasting love. we thank you for the peer of fine, sanctifying blood of jesus christ. and we thank you for this great .ation in which we live with the religious liberty that each of us is guaranteed under our constitution and we pray that you will awaken the body of christ across this nation. the believers and lovers of liberty. that we stand together. .o reclaim this nation we thank you and we praise you. in jesus name we pray.
campaign -- 2016 presidential campaign. then a middle school math teacher from new york city will share his perspective on race and class. he is the author of this is not a test. what do you think about standardized tests? is liveton journal" every morning at 7:00 eastern. >> at a clean energy summit in las vegas, president obama announced new executive actions making it easier for homeowners and businesses to invest in new energy. president obama: earlier this month, i unveiled our clean power plan.
the first set of nationwide standards. the single most important step america has ever taken to combat climate change. the clean power plan is going to accelerate the third way we are cutting emissions, creating jobs, saving folks money, by generating more clean energy. , i pledged tofice double or production of wind and solar by the end of my first term. we met that goal ahead of schedule. [applause] obama: six years ago, the recovery act marked the single biggest recovery in clean energy in our history. what we did was not revolutionary. we did what the federal government has always done.
we invested in promising new technologies to spur private sector innovation across the country. >> a decade after hurricane katrina devastated coastal louisiana, forcing one .5 million residents to evacuate and causing $100 billion in damage, c-span is taking a weeklong look at the new orleans disaster and recovery, and it begins tonight with the atlantic magazine conference we covered today in new orleans. mitch landrieu said that they have to find ways to get stronger, and katrina showed us we are not as resilient as we need to be and that we have got a lot of work to do. "the times-picayune" says they have to reflect a one of the worst disasters in u.s. history and what came of it. you will see all of those remarks in about 40 minutes, but first, a town hall on what it means to know new orleans. >> good morning.
>> my name is madeleine lecesne, and i am a 19-year-old. this past spring, i graduated from a charter school and will be attending princeton this fall. [applause] >> thank you. i was nine years old when katrina hit, and so this first poem recounts my experience evacuating to houston. evacuation evacuation i evacuated to texas and a piece of gravel found my eye my mother dug it out with an aluminum gum wrapper a tongue is in apple that never knew the ground the state of louisiana said i was black so i became black showerd my hair in the
hisown recluse bit me with body. i rubbed eucalyptus on my skin and think of yo-yo ma cradling a spider to his face water pressure as fickle as cooking meat my twin in a bowl and i thought of a boat full of bodies and slippery brown and yellow at dusk on the dock a horsefly is a fly that only receives its wings after a mother pound meat to leather but this never happens because i did not realize pork was red meat until my twin ate a tenderloin and i could hear his thoughts
matalin, i am tired i am sorry i made you wait i ran into a pool while talking to a friend now i have a sore patch of skin and there are mere gold berries that make you believe the vinegar is cream soda please, ingest them and then look at me [applause] i wrote this next poem for today, and it is in memory of the night before my family left for the storm. the walls still sweat from noon until three but you bring home tsatsumas they will be perfect in a week
president and editor in chief of the atlantic, and it is my privilege to welcome you all, including those of you watching on our live stream at thea tlantic.com, and i also want to welcome viewers watching on c-span and those on wwno. in 1901, the atlantic published a story about new orleans that declared as new orleans is one of those few cities in our country with a past, so, likewise, it has always been the city of the future, a city of vast possibilities in the plans of france and then of spain, of napoleon, of thomas jefferson, and the united states. 10 years ago, there were many who wondered if hurricane had permanently foreclosed those possibilities and put an end to those ambitions, if the city could ever recapture its former
, and actually, i think maddy's poetry, looking at the hard 10 years to bring new orleans back, and the work that is left to be done. city and its people have been transformed by katrina, and what has not really changed, how is life better here now, and in what ways might it the worst, and what might the future look like for new orleans. what big plans are on the table today? i feel particularly grateful to be here, because 10 years ago, i was on a team of reporters that the new york times sent down here to cover the aftermath of katrina. my own experience here was, of course, superficial, but it
still left indent level impressions of the suffering and the frustration and the generosity that came during and after the storm. for the conversations today, we ,rought together artists environmentalists, engineers, community activists, and others. we will again -- begin in a moment with what it means to know this city. it is a legend that the atlantic has returned to from time to time across the decades, and some elements of the portrait we have provided have been quite consistent and might have some resonance today, and in that same story from 1901, the writer cityibed new orleans as a of gaiety and pleasure in spite of her mary and sorrows, and then in 1940 -- in spite of her sorrows, and then in 1940, it is a little weary, but she is still beautiful and quietly conscious of her charm.
that particular writer went into substantially more, saying new orleans is a pleasure city, who is dead are buried above ground and whose politics is carried on underground. was, of course, a long time ago, and i will look forward to having the panel update these descriptions, but first, i have a couple of important program notes. twitter, and it is hard, by the way, to know how twitter would have affected response times if it existed 10 years ago. please feel free to join the ve,versation at atlantic_li and we have built in time for q&a throughout the day, and my colleagues will be circulating in the hall with microphones. i want to thank the underwriters that made this possible. we are very grateful for the
rockefeller foundation and the kellogg foundation and jones walker and also our collaborators at the urban institute. would like to remind you to please silence your cell phones, because if it rings while the next speaker is on stage, that would be a grave sin indeed. she is a very great journalist gwen eiffel of the pbs news hour, and she will introduce her -- gwen ifill of the pbs "newshour," and she will introduce her panelists. ♪
gwen: thank you, everybody, and we hope you are well caffeinated, because we are for this for an conversation to start ouray about change and about survival and about knowledge, what it takes to know new orleans. it is going to start our entire conversation for the rest of the day, and i want you to know that we are going to come out. i am going to come out and hang out with you as we get questions for this incredibly intimidating panel. , a writer andlois
author. he has been writing and thinking for a long time about race, culture, and social justice, one of the founders also of the southern alliance. next to him, you saw the amazing at aside from being an amazing poet, one of five national student poets in 2014. she is a rising princeton freshman, and she is heading there next month, and she just best part about it is that there is a break right around mardi gras time. she also graduated from a charter school and was nine years old in 2000, writing poetry on the headboard of her bed, which was eventually ruined and washed away in katrina. i am sorry. i am out of order. the founder and executive director of the american young leaders of new orleans, and environmental activist, interested in building the capacity of youth, but not just
vietnamese youth. he is also engaged in linking latino, african-american, and other communities. chris rose, who i skip -- skipped past there, he is the d,"hor of the book "one dea and he worked for the thomas picked you and and is currently a show host of a program called and tracietion," washington who is sitting right here is the president and ceo of the louisiana justice center. she is a civil rights lawyer. storm.cuated during the she returned that december, and she remains focused on social justice, and oliver thomas i think is the last person i have here. oliver thomas is probably familiar to most of you. he is a former city council member and also the wbok radio host, and his focus is on
community engagement and city government. we have asked to give some. to the full idea of what it means to know new orleans. for those of us who do not live here who watch the entire -- everything, the tales of survival, it kind of unfolded at arm's length, and it is interesting out to find out what we think we know and what people who have actually been fighting the fight do know, and i went to start with you, lois, because you in many ways crossed a lot ofthe pads -- paths washington -- you can tell where i am from, outside of new orleans, the culture and resilience and bouncing back and survival, but tell us, what do you know about new orleans that we should know? quick years ago it was said ago,r famously -- >> years
it was rather famously said, and a big was telling, and if you think of it in terms of the sidewalks, there is the street culture that is so much a part of what makes this different. you would assume that this is the most important part of this pageantry, when it is the people that make this city more interesting. we talk about our food. the usual explanation is that it comes from france. that is why it is so good. for congo square, it is the food of west africa at least as much as it is the food of france. it is his highfalutin. aboutarsalis talks armstrong coming from what he learned from all of the method books that he studied. in addition to that, what a trumpet should sound like, he
dealt with the kind of thing that other less trained musicians were dealing with. about howem talks sydney was attempting to emulate the sound of opera and all of its bravado. my point is that to understand the city, it helps with the glorious mansions. corner, we get a great sense of this place. inclinedly, if you are to blame all of our differences on france, bear in mind that the haitians were the last great coming here in 1810 after being kicked out of cuba. they continued to pay and repay for the revolutions that made this city possible. our population doubled after the haitian revolution.
so much of our culture and our things, we had the greatest collection of survivors. the city washought safe, it was five times are six times more violent. when people talk about the good old days in the school system, people graduated. we were incarcerating more people per capita than any other place. nine. it is down jordan avenue.
lands,really know nor you know 12 all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce cheese, mcdonald's does not use that anymore. there is a narrative created in this town. it is the truth of how everybody lives. if you are really from new orleans, we have more honor roll than in the jail system per capita than just about any other place in america. there is a struggle about the reality of this very special place. the existence for a lot of folks have been, not what they were, but before katrina -- we had 95,000 people living in public housing in a city less than 500,000 people. we averaged between 300 and 400 murders a year. and no matter how good you did
in school, you're probably going to work at the motel. setting you all up one by one. tracy: what does it mean to know new orleans? means i probably have connections with somebody at every single one of these tables. .y boss is sitting over there that, for me, i don't go any place in this city and feel lonely or alone. i don't care how many murders you have. around belfastnd just like i can walk where most people still know me.
i never feel unsafe. i know somebody is going to look at my face and say, you are jody washington's daughter, aren't you? past 22 years, your jacobs mom. city thates in this go generations deep. i am a dark skinned black woman. there are some folks in my family that have red hair. that is what is important about this city. it is this five that sustains us. lots of people can move from city to city. they do just fine. i've lived lots of places and i
do just fine. and when we had katrina and that disruption, when we lost 100,000 black folks. thell be the person on panel talking about racism. just be ready. a significant part of what it is to be normal. you can't replace 100,000 black folks with avatars. folks come up here, it's newho dat and say orleans. i miss that. >> let's talk about sustenance. >> what is wrong with that dog? what was the question?
>> how new orleans sustains us. >> i will pick up on what miss washington was saying. it i know somebody at every table here. it is a hard and broad question to answer. i will thing it -- i will bring it back to very simple tropes. and theld be mardi gras superdome on sundays in the fall. the superdome on sundays in the cosmic socialzing experiment that nobody could replicate if they tried to. it is where all races, genders, economicio-, cultural barriers seem to be stripped away.
it is crazy to watch. it is a beautiful thing. i have been reliving the past couple of days. but that was the extreme of it. i rarely get to go to it. i used to go to games and i got sent there for work. to be in that building on a sunday afternoon, watch the way that everything is stripped away. the barriers, the prejudices. everything is gone. watch how everybody reacts. if we can just keep this going. outside andrry this live like this every day, it's all the same people. it's all of us.
we retreat to our barriers and lives. i have lived in other cities. we don't have everything fixed here. i think we try harder than most places. mardi gras, the same thing. do you go down to the same street corner year after year? it's the same people and they are usually not even from the neighborhood. we just go, we set up where we set up. and this is one of the things i did notice in the phenomenon after katrina that was sort of was, where people showed
up in that first mardi gras, realize -- over and hey. we are those dots. you don't even know those names. but you watch their children grow up. what they ate. it you bought the same things. it you know the things they did. the way they act. simplistic.s means -- tropes, or memes as the kids say. >> let me pick up on that. you made the case that we are more alike than different. others have made the case that there is a lot of difference. whereally the way we view
they are coming. it was affected in a very specific way, environmentally. since, on the 10 years does it change the way you see ?he city nobody knew that vietnamese folks lived in new orleans. knew about the restaurant, the bakery. other than that, i think katrina really lifted our community. when the city was trying to .asically make our community refugee.unity
as a community, we have to resist. we can't move again. we can't be displaced again. not justly galvanized the vietnamese folks, but the white folks, the black folks. we need to stand together and unite and fight. >> displaced became a real unifying theme, in a way. >> we must fight. because of the fight, we won. right?
we were able to come together and rebuild the city together. continued to face those .hallenges .t took us seven or eight years we also have a lot of diversity. it is a very diverse city but we are not as racially accepting. i went to barcelona. when i went there, they really embraced tourism. of could get millions
different languages. and i was like, why can't new orleans do this? people so many commenting. -- coming. 92 million people. we need to embrace the culture. the difference is that we have here. need to let folks know that you do exist. >> when people think about culture, they often think black and white. there is something that struck me. she said they told me i was black, and therefore -- >> i became black. i realized that of actuate in evacuating for katrina and going to the high school where the mascot was the hurricanes was just fabulous.
[laughter] i would say that i am a child of new orleans. i am still in that stage in my life. i think that knowing new orleans, when you're born into it, it's kind of like loving a dog. seeuch as you love it, you it as this unique individual. there is a part of you that deep down, no matter what, as much as you write it, you know you would be happy with any other animal. but then you take your first trip away from new orleans, and i will never forget the first i could really look up when i was walking down the sidewalk.
i didn't have to look for cracks or potholes. and it was one of the first times that i couldn't -- we always walked in the middle of the street. i was walking on the sidewalk for one of the first times. but then you come back. and that love kind of changes. we start to love it like a grandparent where you can't why the cityhend is seldom that -- messed up. so old, so damaged. you kind of don't really imagine losing it has as a child, you don't release you losing a grandparent. but it is still there. and something like katrina happens. and you start to love the city
like a parent. and as much as you always a to be -- expect it around, there is the fear and anxiety. when your parents don't come home and they stay out a little bit later than they said they would. you start to get a little anxious. it's like that. and you can't get past it. >> it's been a while since i worried about my parents but i like the idea that you think we still do. there are people around with microphones. i will start with him. wait a second. we really need you to have a microphone. if you will just wait a second.
>> i am inspired by all of you. i wanted to share one of the most inspirational moments of my life. that is when i looked back and from newe hundreds orleans east. they went down to city hall to get permits for people that wanted to rebuild. how many permits do you want? he said, 600. i think all of you will be participating in katrina since then. wanted to share that moment of inspiration. stand up and tell me who you are. >> my name is stephen kennedy. the common sense question. you talked about the culture
inclusion. is, how doy question you talk about those socioeconomic disparities here in the city of new orleans. walls ideal if >>y could be disclosed? oliver thomas, i want you to take that and then tracy. >> $71 million of investment. the disparity, would it be 10% they matriculated through the charter school system.
good schools means just passing tests. they had the statistics because they went to get jobs and in that 52%, 14% pass the duck -- drug test. the great playwright august wilson, when he writes about two trains, he talks about the duality of life. this is going in another direction. >> i said yesterday when i was talking with a group that we are touting spend a week
the regrowth and redevelopment. down, and do that. route intoke that the communities. in, you go three blocks will see that hopefully, you get a chance to talk to some folks. 50% of black children are still living in poverty. it's bigger than it was during katrina. greek and trina, it was ugly and it is still ugly. the sheriff wants to build more jail space.
i get the people's lawyer because they know i'm always going to add to that. i can get a break. every single week, i get parents calling me because their special week.child -- every what does that mean? , we are talking about this disparity. it is 260 pounds. actually, a little bit more. a good friend of mine, they say you are fine.
i had to look at myself in the mirror. facts andk the real take it step by step, we are going to attack this today. we're not going to have those sodas. we're going to have one problem and resolve it at a time. if we stop lying, we do a little redevelopment of houses. i get these guys that are just on the corner. >> we have a lot of things who want to cover. -- keep the he's
questions short, we can move on. >> i will make it short. the katrina foundation was started right after hurricane katrina. seven booksof the we have. ask people, where were they after katrina? -- you can visit us online. got your plug-in. thank you very much. >> speaking as someone who moved here 10 years ago and immediately fell in love with the city, i moved here to run the second harvest food bank. i would like to ask questions about the paradoxes you have all
been describing. how can we have this incredible , and yetresurgence have completely recovered, even having lost population rates. >> i think our measures of progress are based on how quickly rich people are getting richer. [applause] we need new statistics. >> a nice, brief answer. >> i just wanted to give a shout out to the artist of the city that came back very early along thatthe restaurants believed we would come back.
the first time we went to a restaurant, there was a jazz band there. the first time you went to a parade. and with a visual performing media, film, all of them have been hand in glove with everybody else. there has been involved. at the same time, we don't have the resources we need. i would just like someone to address how we might chase down some more sustained funding. >> politics, acting, same thing. but now i work in that industry. i think you are absolutely correct. the artists and entertainers were intentional after katrina.
they had different plays and productions. i tweeted not too long ago. i went on vacation and had the chance to study a little bit. katrina was more humane than philanthropists, builders, and fema. because a lot of traditional cultural organizations are actually being excluded for what's new and what trendy. nonprofits aren being left out for what trendy. new orleans, there's no other place i want to be. we wanted to promote the festival and not deal with the
people that can't afford to go to the festival. that there are entertainers and artist working in the french quarter who can't afford parking ticket. because they have an affordable place to park anywhere. think tracy is right about, when are we going to be intentional? the greatest city, the greatest culture, the greatest people. we have the most wonderful people in the world. stop -- andgoing to behind that smile is a lot of pain? for anotherime question and i would like to hear from the whole panel. somebody back there behind that light.
. >> this money to do the rebuilding and then they hired other big company and then other big companies. i think that has generally been our approach to the recovery, the idea that the big people should make all the decisions. in a more microcosmic sense, we have great things that have been done to education. the first thing that happened was the firing of all the teachers in the school system. so, we are attempting
to improve the lives of these children by firing their mothers, their sisters, their aunts, their uncles. in order to help these people below, has been a big part of our problem. >> you were nine when katrina hit. looking at it now, what do you see? >> i can say that i will never own a house one day, because i had to watch my parents lose everything. i can say that i have been a voting age for more than a year. i haven't filled out my voter registration forms because i don't trust politicians because my parents voted. they paid their taxes and they still lost their home.
and i would say that a lot of people my age and older, that went through that experience, have the same feelings and the same beliefs and i can't tell you a way to fix it. i would say that the turnout of the bernie sanders event, last month, is a good indication that people are getting roweled up in terms of my generation in louisiana. there's this overwhelming anxiety of having been raised in that type of environment, of kind of just now processing it. because the first days of new orleans after katrina, that was phenomenal, being a child, because we couldn't really process what was happening. our parents were picking up the pieces so it left us with a playground of
abandoned houses and graveyards. but now, looking at it, from where we are, we don't know what to do with this world and we don't know how to piece it together because our parents had to deal with it back then. and i don't have an answer as to how we're going to do it now. >> that's actually kind of heartbreaking. >> let me try to break this into three parts. the first is a self congradualatory. i've done a lot of panels in the last ten years. a lot of panels. [laughter] as the foremost expert and authority on new orleans despair, i want to say, this one sitting up here, this is amazing to sit with you guys. it is so wonderful to be in a group where, actually in the first time in my life, i wanted to
listen more than i wanted to talk. i just wanted to say that to you guys. to a point, what i've tried to tell myself, you talk about in in viz bill -- in visibility of it. to everyone who has katrina fatigue, who doesn't want to hear about it and is resting with these issues, how do we sustain this, how do we get noticed? don't worry, because after august 30th, you won't hear about it again for 15 years. we are a country who fetishizes anniversaries and we are at ten now and 15 doesn't mean anything and 20's not a gold watch. so, if you're tired of it, don't worry. august 30th, you're in the free. i want to do one thing, not to counter what he said. he talked from the talk down, i want to speak from the
bottom up. the only reason we are hear on the stage right now and any of us are here in this audience is due to people who are not in this room. to nobody who is in this room, it's not corporations, it's not government. it is the hundreds of thousands and maybe millions, i don't know, but how many people we will never know, we will never know their names, their church groups, their schools, their families. whoever the hell they were who came down here, bus load after bus load, plane load after plane load, van after van, year after year, to this day, they came down here, they tore our houses apart and then they rebuilt them. and i don't know who the hell they are, but i wish we could line all them up in the superdome someday and give them
a freaking party. that's why we're here. we're not here because of the government dollars that helped. this would not have happened without our fellow citizens, who we will never know, who came down here, not expecting anything. [applause] . >> and i would just argue that those people came when it wasn't an anniversary and they will keep coming. people do things for the right reasons. they focus even when the spotlight goes away. >> so, how do we get noticed? well, we get loud. i evacuated, as a single mom with a 12-year-old. and a jacked up car and an american express and a law degree. that was an awful
combination for the evil ones that didn't want black people back. the american expres people said, you can pay us when you pay us. you will vote because you will get angry. you will buy a house because you're going to want a homestead and you're going to say, doggone-it, i'm not going to live being forced to be resilient. i'm tired of people saying you're resilient. resilient means you can do something to me. i have a right to not be resilient. i'm here, i'll be the one turning off the lights. this city is not going anywhere without me and so i say to everybody else who has that same spirit, we keep fighting. i say to you, we can fight it. we
keep fighting and we demand that our voice be heard. you know, we just demand it. i got a lot of grief, can't take it away from me. i'll sue to be heard. [laughter] and i mean that. >> so, i mean, i shared this story earlier. i agree with you. continue to fight. we fought, too, so we could stay here in new orleans. for us, i think one of the things i really want to share is we have a lot of immigrants who moved into our city and they also need to have a voice, as well, so we've been continuing to fight to make sure that there's language access for our people. i mean, the latinos moved in and helped rebuild our city and they're not being heard
now. i'm so sick of people telling our narrative and our stories. right, even this whole entire week of katrina, i'm kind of sad that the people who have been affected and impacted the most are not at these events are not invited to be at these ev t events and they are celebrating and there are so many people who have made money off of them. they're continuing to be voiceless. we have to contin tu to -- we have to continue to fight. we have to change our narrative. that's the reason why we're being pushed down. right? we've been pushed away because -- right now, people are telling our stories and that's so sad. that's so sad that we -- we have to deal with. i think, you know, for us, it's just, yes, we got to fight, we
got to organize, we got to stick together and make sure our voice is being heard. >> oliver. >> the business community and political community has to be stronger. we need to use public policy to incentivize, not just when they're gentrified. we have to be intentional with funding and targeting homeownership and natives who have been in that neighborhood and have a value. not just the downtown and the french quarter, we have new orleans east, hospitals are a perfect example. because of our diet, we have chronic illnesses. why not create a research and
development around new orleans east. we shouldn't have one medical research center. professor tony wrote a study who is from new orleans. he talked about how do we create citizenship and community in detressed community where they have responsibility and take responsibility and not rely on politicians. there's a sense of ownership even in terms of how many problems we have. in the book of isaiah, god says, i will do a new thing in you. we have to stop practices insanity, we've tried that before. maybe it's time to put the poor people, the children, the elderly and the working class at the front of the line. >> well, we wanted to hear the voices of people who have lived here, who have done this. if you are not in the room, if
you're watching us by livestream, please feel free to tweet to facebook to tell us your -- let us hear your voice so you don't feel excluded from this conversation. if you are in this room, you'll find cards, which are written. i want you to fill those out, you can hang them on the bulletin board. hopefully that will continue to spark conversations. please join me again in >> tonight, scenes from new we tour hurricane damage and speak with those on the ground. why were we held hostage?
i did not go anywhere. why were we held hostage? and not allowed to rescue our people? we have proof of it. why was that the case? you know what? i'm from the 60's, call the whene, i will stop talking i finish with my messages from my community. i do not come to represent me. i did not come to represent me. i came to represent the people atting on the street around brick made fireplace because that's the only heat we have in december. in hurricane happened august. why wereneeds to hear less than 500,000 people spread
over 50 states. that's the question my neighbors need to know. >> it's not really a question of whether it needs to be rebuilt or not. askink it's reasonable to that we have a flood protection system that's going to work. when you see this, a few blocks up the road, there is holy cross but all that vacant housing, you would think, first things first. maybe get people to higher ground because that house cannot be rebuilt. it's not possible. you can still smell that death smell. you will notice it later when somebody tells you you smell bad because you wind up smelling bad after being down here. they are still finding people because they cannot go in there until they demolish it. when they tear down a house like
that , they bring the dogs first to see. this is a typical house where they would find a body still. >> more scenes from new orleans and a two thousand five house hearing with testimony from new orleans residents who left the city or were trapped by the floodwaters. on hurricane katrina continues tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. a headline in "atlantic magazine" -- the atlantic coast of the conference yesterday and next, mayor mitch landrieu reflects on the work that has been done and the work that lies ahead. i want to welcome all of you to this very important conference. cover to main subject areas,
u.s. foreign policy is one in mitch landrieu is the other. [laughter] that's what it seems like lately. i am very glad that we have the mayor with us. he needs no introduction so i want to jump right in to this conversation. since i have you on the couch, i thought i would ask a shrink question. if you want to lie down, and feel free to relax. i want to take you back 10 years and talk about how you felt exactly 10 years ago. i'm trying to picture this. lieutenant devon or, you are in helicopters and boats. you come to your city and 80% of it is underwater. intolerableying, levels, did it -- did you feel
storm hit this coast next week, what would new orleans look like? all, the country has understanding this but we are the veterans of lots of storms. they come in and go out -- betsy was a big storm and camille was a big storm. this was not a natural disaster. this was a man-made disaster. [applause] this was not a natural disaster. this was a man-made disaster. if a category five, rolling in at 12 miles per hour of speed, that has wind over 100 miles per hour hits any city in america, you should hope you would've gone by then. i think hurricane sandy demonstrated to us that we have many, many, many vulnerable cities. and on the scale of new orleans, new orleans isn't on the top.
catastrophe did not occur until the federal levees, designed by the federal government broke. new orleans is a canary in a coal mine for this country, for those of you that are too young to understand that, please ask your parents. [laughter] mayor landrieu: on infrastructure investments, on income inequality, housing, all of that stuff, the rest of the country can learn from the things that new orleans suffered through. and then learn, hopefully, from the ways we learn to fix them as we have paid the debt back to you over time. the third thing is this. the city is much safer than it was, in terms of hurricane protection before. we have spent 14.6 billion federal dollars on fortifying the levees what we call category three standards. if another event came in just like this one, at the same speed
city produces 80% of the oil and gas for the nation. that's what energy independence gives us. that's why we are important and years before the storm, we kept begging people to pay a pension -- to pay attention and they did not. when katrina hit, something important was there. if you want the city to survive, you have to major you are protected because by protecting us, you are protecting america.
the levee system is better than was before, it's stronger than it was before. it was an engineering failure by the federal government. i think there is still a discussion going on that if you wanted to get to a place where you could actually resist risk categorywould be a five storm discussion but that is a discussion that's ongoing and it's a big battle we continue to have about restoring the coast and the levees and it's a battle we have half one but you have to get to the other part and that's a long discussion for another day. let's talk about the way the city has changed over the last 10 years. is thing people talk about it is a richer city, it's also a whiter city than it used to be. 80,000-100,000 black residents are gone. to do to bringt back that population? >> i hope everybody comes home.
i traveled to houston and atlanta this week because those two cities are housing most of our residents are decided not to come back. my brothers and sisters in new orleans, this week is designed to do three things, one is to remember all of our family members we lost, terrible stories of personal tragedy that we continue to know about personally and have participated in the paper and fathers letting their hands of daughters go in it will be hard to relive that the we are here to remember. secondly is to thank the rest of the world and all of our friends and neighbors from across the country and in our neighborhoods for helping us lift up in expressing gratitude to cities that took us in, 32 cities received our people and made our it'sgot in school important for us to spend a
moment instead of thinking about how far we have to go, being thankful for being alive today and being able to have a second chance for another day and the third is what i think is a miraculous thing that the people of new orleans has done. a near-death experience, you just want to get back to where you were the day before the bad thing happened. you don't want to think about it. the people of new orleans spent a minute and i think something that was amazing -- katrina and rita did not call over all of our problems. a lot of the discussions we have today with problems that were here well before the storm are that are coursing through the presidential debate now whether it's being evidenced by the tea party on the right or the folks showing up at the park and i think there is on easing us around the country of all the issues of income inequality. has changedis city
somewhat but this city is still 60% african-american. --is a majority-magic minority city. we have an influx of hispanic brothers and setters that help us rebuild and i am thankful for them as well. the caucasian population is about 32%. the other is hispanic, vietnamese and other so this is always been a very diverse city. we have never seen ourselves in racial terms of being white or black. people in new orleans are different in the sense that we know and believe this is a strength but not a weakness. fissureshave the same that every community has. as we rebuild, we are making sure everyone is welcome and make sure that everyone knows they have a stake in this game and make sure we don't sweep anything under the rug about what the difficulties are going forward. is here whos who
was in the water with me 10 years ago said 52% of african-american men are not working. that's an unacceptable number. know thatnew orleans if you ask the same question and other cities, the whole black lies matter movement is around the issue of what we are doing to help disadvantaged communities get back to where they were. black lives matter, whether they are being lost to shooting, or to years in prison. we are also making tremendous progress on combating homelessness in the city of new orleans. in the years after the storm, we had 11,600 homeless. we became the first city in america to functionally and veteran homeless. we have a long way to go.
but we are making great progress. finally, new orleans has become a global leader in emergency preparedness. 10 years ago, none of us were prepared for a storm like katrina and we suffer the terrible consequences. now everyone is on the same page, and preparations are both wide and deep. in partnership with a local not-for-profit, we developed a city assisted evacuation plan. during a mandatory evacuation, local, state, the federal officials along with the faith-based community and community organizations are seamlessly coordinated. we provide transportation to residents unable to self evacuate and have extensive special-needs registry so we can take care of the bedridden and sick. since katrina, we had a broader cultural shift. and it was interesting to listen to the panel because we are getting back into what was normal before. before was an impatience for what is, hoping what should be could get here quicker. to rebuildme institutions so that human beings can actually take
advantage of the institutions and continue over generations to do better. they're used of the stories about the bathrooms not habitable in our public schools. that is much better and not much different. what's going on in the schools is based on numbers producing high graduation rates and lower dropout rates. a serious problem with who is teaching in the schools and what that looks like. in 1960, this city had 300 and 80,000 people in it.
from 1955-1960, the population started going down. we are the fastest growing city in america now. in someave problems problems is you are shrinking and you have a shrinking tax base and everyone is stressed. problems andve some people are getting displaced. this city has about 100 69,000 square miles of it which is plenty of room to take care of a lot of people. one thing we are doing to her government action and the zoning codes and rules and regulations whether we give tax incentives or not, when we rebuild what used to be called housing projects which are neighborhoods whether it's a lumbee a whatever is making sure there are
incentives in place for people to make the right decisions. in tarrant in that assembly bill move in and move out, gentrification comes up. what we are doing in the city is trying to find a way to manage that conflict so that everybody has an opportunity to come into this city. it's a complicated issue and it's very difficult and it takes time. some neighborhoods have come back faster than others. why is the lower ninth so slow to come back? >> that's an excellent question. the federal government, the state government, the local in.rnment have money coming we have 73 neighborhoods in the city. african americans that don't live in the ninth ward that want their neighborhood rebuilt are wealthy people who live uptown and live in new orleans east and get to us later. everybody is saying give me my
stuff now and make sure it's fair. it's not a racial argument and it's not necessarily an equity argument. they want stuff in the neighborhood tomorrow. from neighborhood to neighborhood, the one universal is get down to blight fast. blight taken down more than anyone in america. we have tried to manage the allocations of these report -- resources by need. get it gets hot, the poor hotter it gets cold, the poor got cold. we have spent $400 million and you add it all up. the lower ninth ward would say
you did not give us as much as everyone else. they had much further to go. the damage is so significant that it will take a lot more money to do it. ofeel like i am on the side begging and demanding more. we had about $150 billion of damages in the city of new orleans. we got about $71 billion in reimbursements. gap,you have that kind of not everybody gets everything all the time you cannot do everything all at once and it takes more time. i am commended to the lower ninth ward but committed to every neighborhood in the city because there's middle nine and upper nine and seven toward and back of town and pension town, a lot of neighborhoods have to get up. one you don't have as much as you need coming in, it takes time to get it back.
let me turn to another subject which is violence. itscide is down from historically high levels. spike ineeing a homicides. just like other cities. , theave made it a cause centerpiece of your administration. why is homicide going back up right now given all the resources you seem to be throwing at the issue of violence? >> i am apoplectic about this issue. this is an on acceptable state of affairs in the united states of america even though murder from 1996 has gone down from her 8000-16,000, the overwhelming per capita number of victims are african-american men and this is true across america. we have an working on this for a long time and said you cannot police -- you need more police
officers see you can stop murder -- that is not what this is. this is much deeper and it folds into the entire thing we are talking about whether it's education, health care, jobs. livesbout whether or not of young african-american men matter in the united states of america. this is a symptom of the fact that we have not really cared or focused and have lost our way in this country. develop a wayto of approaching this on the law enforcement side, there are bad guys killing people out there. responsiblebeing for killing a lot of folks on the streets. we will see how that works out and we have gone after gangs because you have to stop them from hurting themselves and other people. you've got to get in on the front and. there are people who know more about this. see a person's guts
blown out our we are losing unintendede who are victims and the young men themselves, to something i don't think the country can look away from. >> what is your analysis? >> nobody knows. happening across the country at the same time? our shootings are down this year. the murders were down, our shootings were up. recorded the lowest number of murders since 1971 last year but the highest number of shootings. this year we had the lowest number of shootings but our murder is back up to where was last year, not to wear was before. why ismaking headway but the uptick happening in new orleans and baltimore and chicago and even in boston which was leading the math that -- the nation in this effort. i think this is not a federal response. homeland security and securing
our nation is a federal responsibility in partnership with the state and local government and i think we have left this issue as a country many times and not given the resources necessary to get this done. you have to get on the front side of this. early childhood education, good parenting, they feature the institutions of the school, the church, enrichment programs in the afternoon -- the light goes out with young kids about nine years old. everybody that works in the community can see this. once our young kids get to that point, they start having no sense of hope for future and all of a sudden, they start going to a place where we don't want them to go. not g hear i did that much was the wordun. michael nutter, the mayor of philadelphia said it's much easier to kill somebody with a gun than without a gun.
piece ofa large parts this? >> guns are a massive piece of it. there is no question. these kids now can get a gun. we were in angola together. you asked kids if it was the guns. i think three of the guys in the room said no it wasn't the guns, it was me and my responsibility. they said these kids today are tougher than we were. human of the said that, i said these kids can now rent a gun. it is a massive problem. the next question you asked me is political, what can you do about this? they said you cannot do anything about this. have ishe challenges we how you honor someone's
constitutional right and at the same time protect folks. from my perspective, there are a of things we can do. when sandy hook happened, there was a big thing about ak-47s. most of the stuff happens with handguns on the streets of new orleans. the mass killings happen with a bigger gun. spent time on ak-47s and one thing they can do is have a direct action statute that allows them to prosecute people if they commit a felony with a gun. the federal government does not have that. they could change that. the second thing and what worked in 1996 was putting 100,000 police officers on the street with federal resources. when we had our first decline, the city was receiving about $7 million per year to higher 500 police officers in that worked all over the country. by senatortroduced biden and president clinton and that worked.
departmentthe police to get into the tough neighborhoods and do community policing and added resources. finally, it seems that even the that we have good background checks and we keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons, people having difficult issues with mental illness but the country has come to a standstill on that. until congress changes their mind and our state legislature allows cities like ours to do things, we are somewhat stuck on the issue. i love michael nutter and i don't necessarily disagree with of the lawspolitics across the south are very different. people'se can honor second amendment rights to bear arms under circumstances but reasonable and thoughtful limitations that most people in the country agree with but we cannot legally get there because constrictions on the state legislature. >> let me talk about another response to violent crime.
flies into noro lanes can see that you talk about beautiful new school buildings across new orleans. there is a big, beautiful new building off the highway, the new parish jail. [laughter] it's insane. if you believe you cannot jail your way out of the homicide problem, why is that jail there? [applause] >> you might want to ask somebody else that. first of all, it's very important that we secure the streets of new orleans and we may things safe. there are bad people out there that will hurt themselves or other people. you have to have enough law enforcement to do that. 56-60% of our budget is spent on
the backend, police officers, jails. this is a perennial fight that whoever sitsg on in my seat and whoever occupies the sheriff's office. deemedil was unconstitutional at the department of justice. if we are going to jail people, we have to house them in a way that's consistent with constitutional rights. inhave this weird system this city where the sheriff gets to control the jail and the mayor has to pay for it. whenever you have an attenuation -- >> it sounds like it's better to be the sheriff. >> it is. whenever you spend someone else's money, it's better. when you of a system or one person can spend the money and someone else is responsible for paying for it, you will create eight tension that does not exist. that's a bad governing model.
the legislature ordained it that way and we are going through it. in this country now, one of the things we have gotten wrong is how to do incarceration and help our returning citizens come back home in a significant way. rate isdivism exponentially high. we jail more people in the louisiana than we jail anywhere else in the world per capita. it has not worked out well because our crime rate is terrible. in lakerleans it's bad charles and lafayette which has the highest juvenile crime rate in the state, that's a statewide problem and it's a nationwide problem as well. always hada, we have violent communities. we have put people in jail and don't think about it and don't care much of costs and when the budget for the department of corrections goes from $200 million to 800 million dollars,
that could have been spent on early education, everybody says lot them up and throw away the key. people are returning and doing more crimes. orleans -- in new some folks on the other end of broad street want to build a bigger thing. the advocates have said we could be tough and smart on crime. we can figure out we don't have to arrest everybody for if clancy gote pulled over and did not have a drivers license. intent -- instead of taking him to jail, we would give them a summons. i know you never drive without your license. these are minor offenses so you can reduce the jail population and make sure we are spending less money on the back and and more money on the front and and get a better result. we are fighting the fight. a federal judges fairly powerful and it takes time to work through those things. >> we will go to questions in a moment but let me ask you one final things on this relates to the jail crisis.
and innovation after katrina. we went up to angola recently together. we got there, you told me it will bring me to my knees and in many ways, it will. the highway literally ends. it's a one-way highway from new orleans. it's a pipeline. 2000 100 residents of north winds are permanent residents of angola. what post-katrina innovations are you most pleased with in the city that will stop that pipeline? what are the specific things you're at ministration has done that you think will actually cause that jail to be closed from disuse and what will actually reduce the population of people from new orleans in angola? >> it's not just my
administration. there is a lot of responsibility that is spread out over a bunch of different institutional framework. weather is the city of new orleans for the school district with them -- which the mayor doesn't run or the health care delivery system, the thing i'm most proud of is the level of coordination now between and amongst all of the different entities. i call this the new new orleans way because it is literally true that nothing can happen in the city in the last 10 years without everybody having to participate in some form or fashion. nobody has everything we need. we cannot get anything done if we don't wrap our arms around each other. even though we don't have it right and some folks are left out, we are marching in the right direction. the institutional changes, even though there is concerns about the schools, that will get it self worked out. people believe that every child on only has a right to a great education that has to have an opportunity and i don't think the school system is going back to what it was before.
of our schools failing and now only 6% are failing. our graduation rate before katrina was 50%. now it's 75%. at the family table, there is a lot of elbowing and stuff going on but that is the single most important thing that we can do in this city is make sure that the education system gets right and works right. we've got to fight hard for early childhood education because most of these kids that go on to do difficult things, you can tell early on. the criminal justice reforms we are making great headway in terms of partnering with the dea in the group of violence restructured and -- the group violence restructuring agency, but we need more resources. the one danger, the big danger we have in the city, is the further you get away from katrina and the further out of
stress you get in the further out is a life or death situation. we will have a tendency to go back into all the small little fights we had and lose the overarching arc. this is about commemorating and remembering and about saying thank you -- this week for the people in new orleans, for all of us -- there are tons of events that everybody in the city is invited to. there is an event on saturday that is free and it's about the city. this week did not happen by accident. we organize it so we could start talking. it's about what you want the city to look like in the future and we will use the 300 anniversary which is not too far away to be thinking about how the community will keep the momentum up. panel the folks on this asked about how we will continue to be out front? this week we are out in front. you have the presidents of the united states coming back to see
us. that's what's called being out in front and using this week to tell our story. we should use the opportunity -- >> tell us about one president coming on friday, president bush. how did that come about? >> i personally invited him. aboutmportant as we think how this works to get into an issue of healing and reconciliation. president bush was the president when this event occurred. everybody knows the initial federal response was slow. it was inadequate. it took time to get our legs underneath us. we've gone through a couple of different mayors and governors. after the emotional pickup, we had to work together very closely. i think it's important for us to be gracious and be thoughtful entry the president with dignity and respect because he was our commander-in-chief of the time. we want to say thank you to him.
not one of us in this room has been perfect. not one of us in this room does not have something. this was the united states of america, all of us together, not them against us, not us against them, all of us coming together and putting down our jerseys. it's important for the people of new orleans to take a minute and be very grateful and thankful that everybody and anybody who helped us no matter how small, i president obama, president bush and president clinton and i am thrilled at all three of them has said we are important to them and the rest of the world not only in the past but they said they will come and help us remember all the folks we lost and help us get to where we want to get in 2018. >> thank you, mr. mayor, we will go to questions. just razor hands and we have microphone. >> we have time for one quick question. >> anybody?
hey, allison. i am with the data center. >> she's a numbers lady. >> there is a lot of work we have all done and a lot more that needs to be done. had many have conversations. i never asked you about connectivity to the suburbs and the outlying area for jobs. as we look a job opportunities for african-american men, we need training opportunities and increased awareness about that. our data shows there is great opportunities upriver and there will be more with coastal restoration projects. it seems like helping people connect to those jobs is a hurdle we have. what are your thoughts? >> one