(Nov. 15)

All things considered, President Joe Biden’s appointment of Louisianan Mitch Landrieu as infrastructure coordinator at the White House is pretty solid.

Conservatives may not like that Landrieu, who served as mayor of New Orleans and as Louisiana’s lieutenant governor, is an old-fashioned liberal, but he is honest and diligent, with significant relevant experience.

As mayor, he was credited with jump-starting what previously had been a terribly bungled effort to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. His record wasn’t perfect, but his approach was ambitious and data-driven, with some significant accomplishments. Granted, he had the advantage of billions of dollars of special federal aid flowing to the Crescent City, but that also meant he had far more to manage than most mayors usually would.

There are flaws in Landrieu’s record …. [detailed herein]….Then again, considering the scope of Landrieu’s work on New Orleans’s physical infrastructure, the successes were significant. …

Regular visitors to New Orleans, meanwhile, know firsthand how much better the whole city looked and worked after Landrieu’s two terms than it looked even before the big storm. And some triumphs were substantial. For example, the huge City Park for decades had been ill-maintained and less than optimally used by the public. With Landrieu prodding the park’s board of commissioners, the revitalized board has made it once again a thriving haven of family activity — well managed and brilliantly attractive.

The city is better lit, roads and bike paths better marked, and pocket parks and thruways better maintained than I’ve seen in half a century.

Landrieu likes to get things done, and at times, he’s not gentle about it. If a nation wants to spend $1.2 trillion rapidly to improve roads, bridges, and electric grids, that lack of gentleness may on balance be a virtue. [Read the full column right here.]


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