New Orleans, La. – Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu did not attend the forum at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, saying he had a prior commitment. But the current frontrunner released a statement in support of the public-private partnership the sponsors support. His opponents also support the partnership, and then made the most of Landrieu's absence. criticizing his failure to appear. He was also blasted for his performance as head of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism.
Businessman Rob Couhig led off with a jab at Landrieu's commitment to the office of mayor.
He said he based his overall economic plans on discussions with people about what they need to succeed in New Orleans.
Candidates were asked how they would elevate the city's cultural industry and economic worth to levels of attention paid to tourism.
Housing advocate James Perry said the city needs to help keep its artists.
Businessman Troy Henry said he'd create a position of chief cultural officer in his administration to protect the struggling artists.
Former Civil District Court Judge Nadine Ramsey said support has been lacking for many of the arts.
Discussions turned to generating money. Couhig slammed the Nagin Administration's treatment of visitors, who now must feed meters beyond 6 p.m. and travel on broken roads to get around.
Businessman John Georges said the city has to rebrand itself from a party town to a serious cultural and business-friendly city to attract investment, and entice people still displaced by Hurricane Katrina to come home.
More debates are scheduled ahead of the February 6th primary. The runoff is scheduled for March 6th.