After 16 years in the Louisiana House of Representatives, Mitch Landrieu is making his move for a statewide office. Landrieu late last week announced that he will be a candidate for lieutenant governor in the fall elections. Fellow Democrat and incumbent Lt. Gov. Kathleen Blanco has long made clear her intentions to give up the seat to run for governor.
Landrieu's campaign theme? "Mitch Means Business." "I plan to put job creation at the focus of my campaign," Landrieu says. "In the last few years, Louisiana has lost out on hundreds of jobs and dozens of economic opportunities because creating jobs has not been our single focus. As lieutenant governor, it will be my purpose and focus."
Landrieu promises to promote job growth by serving as "a traveling 'economic ambassador,'" helping to build bio-tech corridors statewide, expanding trade opportunities with Latin America, pushing for extensions of Interstates 49 and 69, and accelerating development of the Millennium Port. He also pledges to expand the state's arts, culture, and tourism industry and shipbuilding industries.
Other announced candidates are Kirk Bennett, a black Republican and director of an inner-city youth program in Baton Rouge, and Kenner lawyer Stephen Rue. State Rep. Melinda Schwegmann, D-New Orleans, also is reportedly considering running for the No. 2 seat, which she held from 1992 to 1996.
Landrieu is the son of former New Orleans Mayor and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Moon Landrieu and the brother of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, who was reelected in December, and New Orleans Civil District Court Judge Madeleine Landrieu. Mitch Landrieu ran for mayor of New Orleans in 1994, a race won by Marc Morial.
Anyone who has ever moved turns up old memorabilia -- but probably not old pictures of major mob bosses. The 50-year-old private Metropolitan Crime Commission (MCC) recently boxed up its archives for a move into another building and rediscovered some of New Orleans' colorful crime and corruption history -- in 8-by-10 black-and-white photos. "It was a trip down memory lane," says MCC vice president Anthony Radosti, a retired New Orleans police detective. "We had a picture file of the old police corruption investigations of the 1950s."
Also among the collectibles were photos of the late Gulf Coast mafia boss Carlos Marcello and the late Aaron Kohn, the first president of the Crime Commission. "We also had a huge photograph of Aaron Kohn behind bars, when he was held in contempt of a grand jury investigation for refusing to disclose a Crime Commission source in a police corruption investigations of the 1950s," Radosti says.
The commission has no immediate plans to display its unique gallery of photos. The nonprofit MCC was formed by a group of New Orleans businessmen in 1952 for the purpose of suppressing corruption on the NOPD. Its mission has since expanded to include the reduction of violent crime and public corruption.
Based in the old Tidewater building for the last 15 years, the MCC moved Jan. 4 to more spacious digs at the Freeport McMoRan building on Poydras St. The 524-3138 phone number remains unchanged.