French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Louisiana, historically most closely associated with his country, to celebrate their long cultural ties and discuss energy policy and climate change.
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Macron met with political leaders and walked through New Orleans’ historic French Quarter, the heart of the city, stopping to talk and shake hands with onlookers. He stopped next to a street brass band and nodded and clapped as they played “When the Saints Go Marching In”.
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Macron also said he met with billionaire Elon Musk for a “frank and honest discussion” about Twitter, after a top European Union official warned the social media platform’s new owner that the company was accused of exposing users to harmful content. More needs to be done to prevent it.
This is the first visit by a French president since Valéry Giscard d’Estaing visited Lafayette and New Orleans in 1976. The only other French president to visit Louisiana was Charles de Gaulle in 1960.
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Macron’s itinerary began at Jackson Square. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell took him to the historic New Orleans Museum where Macron discussed the effects of climate change with the government. John Bell Edwards. The French President also met representatives of the energy company.
“This state visit enables us to put France and France with Europe at the center of the American agenda. This is a good thing,” Macron told reporters in French, according to a translation by pooled journalists.
Macron told Edwards that he was overwhelmed by the reception in the city.
“I think it shows that we have a special relationship with France. It’s historical and cultural,” Edwards said.
Edwards, a Democrat, has been outspoken about the dangers of climate change in a state where tens of thousands of jobs are tied to the oil and gas industry. French officials said this makes New Orleans “very emblematic” of climate-related efforts.
During a brief meeting in the presence of Macron, the governor and the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, signed a memorandum of understanding “to further expand and enhance the strong cultural ties between France and Louisiana in the areas of the economy”. clean energy and the environment,” Edwards’ office said.
“Like me, President Macron believes climate change is real,” Edwards said.
The governor’s office said the agreement formally creates a Louisiana-based position for a French technologist on the clean energy transition.
During Macron’s visit to Washington on Thursday, he and President Joe Biden issued a joint statement expressing “their deep concern about the growing impact of climate change and the loss of nature” and that they would “work together to address it.” Intend to continue taking domestic and global action.” ,
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On Friday evening, Macron posted a photo on Twitter of his encounter with Musk, which showed the two men sitting face-to-face at a table in an empty room. He said he and the Tesla CEO also discussed “green industrial projects of the future” and social media platforms.
“Transparent user policies, significant reinforcement of content moderation and protection of freedom of speech: efforts must be made by Twitter to comply with European regulations,” the president said in a series of tweets.
Earlier this week, Thierry Breton, the EU commissioner for digital policy, told Musk that Twitter would have to significantly increase efforts to comply with new rules known as the Digital Services Act that will take effect next year. Or potentially face heavy fines or even bans. continental block.
Louisiana is named after Louis XIV, the famous Sun King who ruled France for 72 years, beginning in 1643. New Orleans is where the Louisiana Purchase was finalized. The deal transferred the Louisiana Territory, which includes much of what is today the central United States, from France to America in 1803.
Macron’s visit to New Orleans included a stop with First Lady Brigitte Macron in Cabildo, where ceremonies marking the land transfer were held.
Before leaving, Macron was also scheduled to visit the New Orleans Museum of Art and have lunch in the city.
Holding US and French flags, Christian Geisler, who was born in France and moved to Louisiana six years ago, was among onlookers who lined the streets on Friday hoping to see the president. She was thrilled that she got to shake Macron’s hand and chat briefly with him in French.
“For me, when I came here, I had a good feel for French,” Geisler said.
The French Quarter, 13 blocks long and about six wide, was first settled in the 1700s and was later ravaged twice by fire. It is well known as a tourist destination and commercial district, with a reimagined French market, fine restaurants, antique shops and art galleries alongside T-shirt shops, strip joints and bars, as well as live music by cover bands. Tears to pieces.