Gov. Edwards Touts Louisiana Economy at Chamber Luncheon

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards embraces former Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu after his speech to the New Orleans Chamber on Dec. 4 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. (Photo by Rich Collins)

NEW ORLEANS – Newly re-elected Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards received not one but two standing ovations when he spoke at the Dec. 4. New Orleans Chamber luncheon at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans hotel.

Edwards made sure the crowd knew that the feeling was mutual.

“My wife Donna and I chose New Orleans for our honeymoon when we got married because we love the city so much,” he said. “But I’ve never loved New Orleans more than I do now since 90 percent of voters here supported my reelection.”

Edwards used his time at the podium to tout the strength of Louisiana’s economy, which he says has improved greatly since he took office. Signs of strength include the 37,000 new permanent jobs created since January 2016, nearly 200 “major economic development wins” during his administration and the announcement that jobs in the New Orleans area have returned to pre-Katrina numbers. He said the state’s gross domestic product is the largest it’s ever been at $256 billion which means an annual growth rate of 3.8 percent.

“You would be excused for being somewhat confused about this after all the ads that have run over the last several months,” he said. “But our economy is growing, it is doing well, and that’s particularly the case here in New Orleans.”

Edwards’ remarks touched on the burgeoning tech industry in New Orleans, new industrial projects along the Mississippi River, the massive quantity of products being shipped in and out of the port complex sprawling between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Boeing’s work for NASA at the Michoud facility in eastern New Orleans and the future of Avondale Shipyards, which was sold to new owners last year.

“Nobody, and certainly not me, is trying to spike the ball in the end zone, because I know we have challenges and things we need to be working on,” he said. “We can never rest but we’re clearly moving in the right direction and to top it off, the Saints are winning, LSU is doing better than we’ve ever done and I happen to believe we’re going to win the Heisman Trophy the Saturday after next … and then the chicken sandwich is back at Popeye’s. It just doesn’t get any better than this, folks.”

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