March 30, 2007

Good Morning:

For some time now I, like many of you I am sure, have been dismayed by the national news coverage our city has received. I have been pleased that the media continues to keep the national spotlight on our city's recovery but perplexed as to why virtually every story out of New Orleans must focus exclusively on crime, devastation, graft, ineptitude or some other negative aspect.

This constant, 24-hour news cycle of negativity can have a deleterious effect, stifling tourism, investment and student recruitment in our city and further slowing the revival of the very neighborhoods whose lack of progress the national media so often decries.

In order to inject some balance into the coverage of New Orleans and spread the positive news of our economic and cultural revitalization, I have joined forces with New Orleans City Council Vice President Arnie Fielkow, Rod West, president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans, attorney Kim Boyle of Phelps Dunbar, LLC and other business and community leaders to form the Fleur-de-lis Ambassadors Program.

This diverse group includes more than 20 leaders, who come from all walks of life, neighborhoods and backgrounds but share the common goal of correcting the doomed vision of our city that many in the media portray. Can you believe that 19 months after the storm I still have people ask me if the floodwaters have receded from New Orleans?

By meeting with the media, business councils, civic groups, political leadership and philanthropic organizations in major cities around the country, the Fleur-de-lis Ambassadors will dismiss this and other misperceptions. They will also tout the positive aspects of the recovery and the fact that we are still the most unique city in all of America and are open for business.

We have assembled a great group of civic leaders for this task who are listed here. But actually, our best ambassadors are each of you. You can do a great deal to help get the word out about our recovery by sharing our story with friends and relatives both in far flung cities and neighboring parishes. Don't let the national media be the only source of information about your hometown.

Have a great weekend,


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