Mayor Ray Nagin is in Australia, where he's scheduled to speak at the United States Studies Centre at Sydney University on the topic of 'sustainable globalisation.' He took time for a radio interview with ABC Australia's Mark Colvin on the state of New Orleans. A few highlights of what Hizzoner had to tell the Aussies about the city:

On economic development: There is a tremendous amount of growth, entrepreneurism moving to our city. New construction and engineering companies are opening up because of all the activity.

On Dr. Ed Blakely: Invaluable guy who came on the scene when we needed him the most. We had multiple plans in place; we were kind of floundering a little bit. He put clarity to that; helped us implement our initial implementation strategies, if you will, identified 17 key areas, and if you look at those areas today, for every $1 of public investment we get $88 of private investment. He has earned his money.

On crime and drugs: Well, you know, crime has always been a challenge for us in the city of New Orleans. It's a historic thing that dates back, you know, 20, 30 years ago. Unfortunately we do have a port that brings in a lot of drugs into our community. We know have post-Katrina stress disorders that are starting to manifest themselves in many, many ways, where our citizens are self-medicating. In certain sections of the city we do have violent crime but the overall violent crime rate in New Orleans is down substantially.

To read the transcript, go here ... or just listen to the show:

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