NEW ORLEANS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron arrived Friday in Louisiana, the American state most closely aligned historically with his country, to celebrate their longstanding cultural ties and discuss energy policy and climate change.
Macron met with political leaders and strolled through New Orleans’ historic French Quarter, the heart of the city, stopping to talk and shake hands with bystanders. He paused next to a street brass band and nodded and clapped as they played “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
Macron also said he met with billionaire Elon Musk for what he called a “clear and honest discussion” about Twitter, days after a top European Union official warned the social media platform’s new owner that the company must do more to protect users from harmful content.
The visit is the first by a French president since Valery Giscard d’Estaing traveled to Lafayette and New Orleans in 1976. The only other French president to visit Louisiana was Charles de Gaulle in 1960.
Macron’s itinerary started at Jackson Square. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell walked him to the Historic New Orleans Collection where Macron discussed climate change impacts with Gov. John Bel Edwards. The French president also met with energy company representatives.
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“This state visit enables us to put France, and with France Europe, at the heart of the American agenda. That’s a good thing,” Macron told journalists in French, according to a translation from pool reporters.
Macron told Edwards he was overcome by the reception in the city.