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“We only have one chance to rebuild New Orleans, and our margin for error is zero,” says state lieutenant governor and New Orleans mayoral hopeful Mitch Landrieu. He says he’s the leader who can restore the city’s credibility, make a plan, and then make it happen.

The Weathers Report agrees. Landrieu is the best person to lead a post-Katrina New Orleans because he has credentials, connections, charisma, and cross-cultural appeal. A veteran of Louisiana politics, he served for 16 years in the Louisiana Legislature, and built a strong reputation as a non-partisan bridge builder and fiscal conservative. He also has a record of reform. Long before it became hip to be IQ, Landrieu led a push, albeit an unsuccessful one, to consolidate the city’s seven assessors. As lieutenant governor, he has been an effective CEO of the state’s tourism industry, boasting a return of $15 for every $1 spent in marketing the state’s unique culture.

Unlike in past elections, where maverick political outsiders were in vogue, New Orleans desperately needs a professional politician at the helm. Landrieu’s polictical savvy and extensive connections around the state and in Congress will serve us well in bringing in badly needed (and deserved) state and federal dollars and restoring the relations that were so badly damaged in the aftermath of the storm.

Of course, we’ll miss C. Ray Nagin’s charm, wit, and affability, which served him so well in the days before Katrina. But Landrieu is equally as likeable, and even dons the same minimalist haircut. In all seriousness, the new mayor needs to be a telegenic spokesman who can convince middle class residents to return and persuade American business to reinvest in our city. Landrieu has the mojo to make that pitch.

Finally, Landrieu has the ability to reunite the city. He’s the only candidate in the race, aside from Nagin, who will draw substantial biracial support at the polls. More importantly, he’s likely the only candidate who can beat Nagin in a runoff. Notwithstanding the histrionics of the NAACP and the other civil rights groups that have fought to postpone the election as racially discriminatory, black voters will continue to be the most substantial voting bloc in the race. And while Nagin has never fully garned the support of the black community, his strong war chest and incumbency advantage make him a lock for the runoff. In a runoff, minority voters would vote in droves against any one of the “Uptown” or Republican candidates, namely Ron Forman, Rob Couhig, and Virginia Boulet. Yet enough black voters will vote for Landrieu, whose family has a strong civil rights records and extensive connections in the black community.

Thanks and apologies are in order to Rob Couhig, the straight-talking lawyer and entrepeneur who has a wonderful vision for this city, strong leadership qualities, and would make an excellent mayor. But even post-Katrina, it is mathematically impossible for a Republican to win a citywide race in this town. The Weathers Report predicts Couhig will run a surprise third in the primary (ahead of the bumbling Forman) and endorse Landrieu for mayor by the end of the month. He will do so because our margin of error really is zero, and Landrieu is our best hope for recovery.

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