February 2, 2007

Good Morning:

I spent most of this week in Washington, D.C. discussing the future of pre K-12 public education and health care in New Orleans with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Rep. Bobby Jindal, Sen. Mary Landrieu, Sen. David Vitter, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s senior policy advisor Wendell Primus.

As you know Katrina dealt a severe blow to both public education and health care in New Orleans. On the health care front Katrina scattered a population, robbing doctors and hospitals of insured patients, while overwhelming the same system with uninsured patients, whose care used to be provided by Charity and other public hospitals. Katrina also devastated the city’s universities and exacerbated every flaw of a deeply troubled K-12 public school system.

I urged the members of the House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee to support the efforts of true healthcare reform that will provide quality care and access to all our residents. I believe we can expect that the committee will soon hold hearings to assess the current state of health care in the region and where we go from here.

In a meeting convened by Sen. Mary Landrieu along with Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Department of Education and staff from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee I, along with UNO Chancellor Timothy Ryan and non-profit and charter school leaders in the city, discussed how public-private partnerships are key to the future of our public education system and critical to our recovery.

All of the leaders I met pledged to do everything possible to get additional funding for our area's needs as well as break the bureaucratic logjam that is holding up much of the funding already allocated. I will let you know how well these legislators and government representatives backed up their good words in the months ahead.

Have a great weekend,


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