Lt. Gov. Landrieu talks race

Published 12:44 am Monday, October 15, 2007

FERRIDAY — Louisiana’s lieutenant governor made a stop in Ferriday Sunday to speak briefly about race relations in the state and the nation.

Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu spoke at the New Morning Star Baptist Church’s Usher Board Program and Gospel Extravaganza Sunday.

“I’m not going to talk about politics, because we’re in (a church) service,” Landrieu said. “Instead, I’m going to talk about something I talk about wherever I go, because it’s something near to my heart: race.”

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Landrieu’s heart is heavy with the issue of race and people getting along and being together, he said.

“Sometimes, when things are sensitive, we don’t want to talk about it,” he said. “We haven’t had a discussion about race since the death of Dr. (Martin Luther) King (Jr.) or the death of (Robert) Kennedy.”

The problems in the state such as the recent Jena Six episode are only a mirror of the nation as a whole, Landrieu said.

“If they make the mistake of thinking that this is only our problem, they are going to miss a major learning opportunity,” he said.

People moving into the United States and people moving around within the states are all coming to the south, and that means people of all races are going to have to learn to live together, Landrieu said.

“If we are going to put our best foot forward, if we are going to get along and get ahead, we need to come together,” he said.

A resident of New Orleans, Landrieu said after the city flooded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, he found a glowing symbol of what race relations could be like.

“When someone saw you coming in the boat, they didn’t care what color you were,” he said. “That boat is symbolic. We’re all in one boat together.”