Former New Orleans Mayor Landrieu Named White House Infrastructure Chief
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has tapped former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to be his senior White House advisor for turning the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill into a shovels-in-the-ground reality.
The president announced Landrieu’s selection on Sunday, a full 24 hours ahead of the bill being signed into law at a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House.
In his new role, the White House said, “Landrieu will oversee the most significant and comprehensive investments in American infrastructure in generations — work that independent experts verify will create millions of high-paying, union jobs while boosting our economic competitiveness in the world, strengthening our supply chains and acting against inflation for the long term.”
In a tweet, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who up until now had been the administration’s face of the infrastructure effort, said, “When it’s time to deliver, it’s always smart to turn to a great mayor.
“Delighted that my friend Mitch Landrieu will be joining the White House to guide administration-wide implementation of the President’s infrastructure vision. Let’s get to work!” Buttigeig said.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland also chimed in, calling Landrieu, “a leader who knows how to bring communities together and build partnerships at all levels of government.”
Landrieu served as the 61st Mayor of New Orleans, taking office in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and in the midst of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.
He is widely credited with stewarding the city’s recovery from both. In 2015, Landrieu was named “Public Official of the Year” by Governing, and in 2016 was voted “America’s top turnaround mayor” in a Politico survey of mayors.
Landrieu continued to garner national attention — and nearly universal praise — for his decision to take down four Confederate monuments in New Orleans, a move that later earned him the prestigious John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.
He is also a former president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Walter Isaacson, the author and former editor of Time magazine who now teaches at Tulane University in New Orleans, called the president’s appointment of Landrieu “great.”
“He guided the recovery after Katrina that produced levees that held perfectly in our recent Cat4 hurricane, a better school system, and no examples of fraud or abuse. He is persistent, smart, energetic,” Isaacson said.
Longtime Democratic strategist and commentator James Carville said Landrieu was “a great mayor … and will do a great job for our country.”
“I am thankful to the president and honored to be tasked with coordinating the largest infrastructure investment in generations,” Landrieu said of his appointment in a written statement. “Our work will require strong partnerships across the government and with state and local leaders, business and labor to create good-paying jobs and rebuild America for the middle class. We will also ensure these major investments achieve the president’s goals of combating climate change and advancing equity.”
Prior to serving as mayor, Landrieu served two terms as lieutenant governor and 16 years in the state legislature.
He and his wife Cheryl live in New Orleans where they raised their five children.