Mackinac Preview: NOLA Mayor and Detroit’s future

Mackinac Preview: NOLA Mayor and Detroit’s future

The final day of the Mackinac Policy Conference will kick off with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. The first-term mayor authored a guest column in the Detroit Free Press today that previews some of what he plans to say tomorrow.

Of course, he’ll be interviewed on the conference stage by WDET’s Craig Fahle, general manager and host of The Craig Fahle Show. So his appearance won’t be a complete repeat of his column as Craig plans some questions of his own. But Landrieu makes a few points worth highlighting.

First, he emphasizes his belief that helping New Orleans post-Katrina and Detroit as it aims to emerge from bankruptcy and create a financially stable city are part of the American responsibility:

After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, flooding more than 80% of the city, MSNBC host Chris Matthews asked me, “Why should a guy driving a cab up in Detroit” care about rebuilding New Orleans? I said that an American tragedy requires an American response. This is the same reason why someone in New Orleans should care about Detroit and its struggles. Only if we remain one nation, indivisible, can we be strong. We need each other.

Second, he recognizes Detroit as having opportunity as it restructures post-bankruptcy. That’s a similar message to what is said after natural disasters as communities rebuild: “with disaster comes opportunity.” Landrieu writes, “There is no greater engine for growth, no greater power for innovation, and no smarter investment to make than in Detroit. Now the struggle of years past is giving way to new opportunities.”

Third, he’s an optimist. “I know Detroit will show us, too, that it can come back better than before. The spirit of Detroit is unbreakable as the iron forged in its furnaces and factories. Bankruptcy is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. It is just a way station on the road toward a better future.”

We’ll report on the Mackinac Policy Conference audience response to Landrieu and his message tomorrow.