Eight years after Hurricane Katrina tore through the levees and flood walls meant to protect New Orleans, the city is now “stronger and faster and better,” said its mayor, Mitch Landrieu, on Thursday.
“The levee protection is in place, we’ve rebuilt our education system, our health care system, economic development, and as you noticed, tourism,” said Landrieu on MSNBC.
The tourism industry hit a record high in 2012, raking in over $6 billion, and Landrieu said other businesses have staged dramatic comebacks as well.
"We have a robust oil and gas industry; we are building a $5 billion medical complex that's really going to be second to none in the gulf coast area of the country; we are now filming more films down here than any other city in America except for New York and Los Angeles; and we're diversifying our economy," he said. "All of those things coming to the fore are helping New Orleans create a foundation so that the future looks a lot better than the past did."
More than 1,800 people were killed in 2005 when one of the worst storms to ever hit U.S. soil ripped through the gulf coast. Some areas, like the Lower Ninth Ward, have been slower to rebound, noted Landrieu. But, he said, “the overall message from the city of New Orleans today is the resilience of the people here, and how far we’ve really come.”