New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is hosting the fifth annual World Cultural Economic Forum this week. It’s part of the US Conference of Mayors' drive to harness the financial power of art and culture.
Mayor Landrieu says it’s no accident that 21 US mayors and representatives from 33 countries landed in New Orleans in the middle of Jazz Fest.
“We planned it around Jazz Fest because we always use Jazz Fest as the backdrop for explaining the economic impact of culture, art, music and history.”
Landrieu’s office then announced the city’s cultural economy report for last year. It says events including Jazz Fest and Mardi Gras had a combined economic impact of more than $760 million.
Landrieu says appreciating culture for its economic power isn’t a tough sell.
“It’s just important that we get together and share information and stay focused — not the sex appeal of it. Not who the big stars are. But, as I say, the back of the house side of it. Who the workers are, because it touches every aspect of our life and of course it edifies the soul. It makes a place very special and unique and it makes it the reason that people want to go work there and play there as well.”
Landrieu says New Orleans is also sharing its experience handling large sporting events with officials at the conference from Brazil ahead of the 2016 Olympics.
“Just to walk through some of the planning that we had to go through, not only for this Super Bowl but certainly for the one that we did after September 11th. And now in the aftermath of Boston it’s taken on more urgent significance.”
The forum is ending this weekend after delegates get a two-day pass for the Fair Grounds.