Mayor Mitch Landrieu will deliver his fourth annual State of the City address today at 1:30 p.m. from the recently reopened Treme Center. I’ll live blog the speech below.
Landrieu has used past speeches to unveil a major policy initiative. Last year, that was the NOLA for Life crime reduction program. NOLA for Life will likely move into the accomplishments portion of the speech this year, although the murder rate remains persistently high. The city ended 2012 with 193 murders, down slightly from 199 in 2011.
“Reform of the New Orleans Police Department is the first order of business,” he said last May, calling the U.S. Department of Justice “a great partner.” Since a federal consent decree for the police was approved in January, however, Landrieu has had a change of heart.
The police decree is expected to cost $55 million over five years. Another proposed federal consent decree for Orleans Parish Prison has not yet been approved, but the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office has estimated its annual cost at more than $20 million. Landrieu has said the combined expenses would force the city to lay off or furlough hundreds of essential employees.
Landrieu will likely cite accomplishments like the Super Bowl and, given the venue, the reopening of the Treme Center itself. He can also be expected, as he often does during major speeches, to provide the most recent statistics on blight reduction and street and streetlight repairs.
Looking forward, he may discuss plans to redevelop the World Trade Center site and the expected opening of Crescent Park on the riverfront in Faubourg Marigny and Bywater.
With the state Legislature in session, Landrieu may take the opportunity to push his legislative agenda, including a bill to overhaul the governance of the Sewerage and Water Board and another to increase employee contribution rates for the firefighters pension fund from 6 percent to 10 percent.