- Associated Press - Sunday, June 22, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The U.S. Conference of Mayors has named New Orleans one of the nation’s most livable cities, honoring Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s NOLA for Life program, launched in 2012 with the aim of reducing murders in the city.

Landrieu accepted the award Saturday at the conference’s meeting in Dallas. West Sacramento, California also won an award among cities with more than 100,000 residents.

The program, the majority of which is funded with private money, focuses on reducing shootings among young men, doing more to prevent violence, improving job opportunities, cutting neighborhood blight and strengthening the police department.

In 2013, there were 155 murders in New Orleans, a 20 percent decline from 193 in 2012. In the first three months of this year, the murders were down by nearly 30 percent.

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