September 28, 2007

Good Morning:

Back in June I, along with the presidents of Dillard, Loyola and Xavier universities, wrote op-ed pieces for the Times-Picayune suggesting that New Orleans serve as a host city for one of the upcoming presidential debates.

This was an idea long championed by the "Women of the Storm" and has also been endorsed by The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, the Times Picayune and others.

In its Sept. 24 issue, TIME magazine's editor Rick Stengel asked readers to send letters in support of a New Orleans debate to Rick promised to forward all letters to the Commission on Presidential Debates, which will make a decision on this issue next month. I urge each of you to send your support to this address today.

As I asked in my essay, can you think of a better place for the leading candidates to debate the role of government in responding to human need, the balance of domestic and foreign priorities, the importance of the environment, education, health care, energy, trade, crime and matters of race and poverty?

But besides being the perfect setting for the candidates to put forth and defend their positions on such issues, New Orleans also offers an opportunity for the country and its leaders to see how far the city has come in its recovery.

When I travel to other cities I am still astonished to be asked by seemingly intelligent and informed people questions such as "Has the water receded yet?" or "Is anything open?" Those of us who live here know the struggles we still face, but we also see the progress and the opportunities and know the danger of such ignorance regarding our recovery. Now it's time for the rest of the country to know it as well.

Have a great weekend (and let's beat those Tigers!) 


Office of the President Emeritus, 1555 Poydras St, Suite 700, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-274-3638