[StBernard] New Orleans and State Leaders Conduct Diplomatic Mission to Washington

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Tue Apr 3 22:01:26 EDT 2007

New Orleans and State Leaders Conduct
Diplomatic Mission to Washington

A 16-member New Orleans and State of Louisiana delegation undertook a major
diplomatic initiative in Washington, D.C. on March 27-28. The delegation
included New Orleans City Council Vice President Arnie Fielkow;
Councilmember Cynthia Willard-Lewis; Lisa Ponce de Leon, Chief of Staff for
Economic Development and International Affairs with the City; and Larry
Collins, Director of International Services, Louisiana Economic Development

The diplomatic mission to Washington was sponsored by the City of New
Orleans, LED, the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism,
the Port of New Orleans, the New Orleans International Airport, Greater New
Orleans Inc., and the World Trade Center of New Orleans, which organized the

Dividing up into two teams, the members called on 17 ambassadors and other
high-level embassy officials over two days to thank their countries for the
support given to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in August
2005 and to publicize the current international trade, investment, and
tourism opportunities in the region. Another objective was to increase the
number of consulates and trade offices in New Orleans, as well as to
highlight the upcoming World Cultural Economic Forum to be held in
late-August in New Orleans and the World Trade Centers Association General
Assembly on October 21-24.

Meetings were held in Washington with the Ambassadors of China, Japan,
Mexico, the Netherlands, Panama, and Spain, as well as senior officials at
the other 11 embassies.

Also, on March 27 the Louisiana delegation hosted a VIP reception for the
Washington Diplomatic Corps at the International Trade Center in the Ronald
Reagan Building. U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, one of four
keynote speakers, discussed the importance of the economic recovery efforts
taking place in the New Orleans area. The reception was attended by
diplomats from 74 embassies, as well as State Department and U.S. Department
of Commerce officials.

Commenting on the promotional trip, Councilmember Fielkow said that "our
international partners were not all fully aware that port and airport
traffic, international trade, and the economic recovery are on the upswing
and they greeted our visits to their embassies with great interest and

"Many of the ambassadors and others we met expressed interest in visiting
New Orleans to see for themselves the progress being made and the business
opportunities available to their business communities, especially in the
areas of flood control technology, engineering, construction, building
materials, home furnishings, environmental services, and other sectors,"
Councilmember Fielkow noted.

According to Lisa Ponce de Leon with the City of New Orleans' Economic
Development Office, "Diplomatic officials from around the world received us
positively. The world as a whole is eager to reach out to New Orleans, and
we are optimistic about the prospect of gaining new consular and trade
offices. In fact, Mexico's Ambassador confirmed the opening of a consulate
in New Orleans in the near future."

If you would like information on the many benefits of membership in the
World Trade Center, click here <http://wtcno.org/membership/benefits.htm> .

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