In 2010, New Orleans was suffering not only from the effects of Katrina but also from troubled leadership and raging crime. I remember a conversation with its then-new Mayor, Mitch Landrieu, about innovation in the public workforce in which he emphasized that accountability and the delivery of higher-quality public services needed to come first.
Landrieu believed there was plenty of room for improvement in both of these areas. In 2011, New Orleans had more murders per 100,000 residents than any other city in the country, earning it the title -- not for the first time -- of murder capital of the United States. A U.S. Justice Department investigation of the city's police department had revealed systemic misconduct and discriminatory practices. Yet just two years later, the city saw its lowest number of homicides in 30 years.