Mayor Mitch Landrieu traveled to Cuba on Wednesday as part of a delegation from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the first trip the group has made to the island country since 1978.
The visit comes as the United States is expanding its diplomatic relationships with Cuba, something New Orleans officials are hoping could boost trade through the city.
“The city of New Orleans and Cuba share cultural and commercial connections that date back to our city’s founding in 1718,” Landrieu said in a news release. “As the United States continues to increase diplomatic relations with Cuba, we remain poised to develop robust trade relations and cultural exchanges that will subsequently increase overall economic activity for our region.”
The trip will include discussions of economic development, education, health care, infrastructure and transportation, according to the release.
Landrieu also plans to discuss Cuba’s participation in next year’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and the city’s 300th anniversary celebration in 2018.
Landrieu isn’t the first New Orleans mayor to visit Cuba recently. Mayor Ray Nagin traveled to the island in 2009 to talk with officials there about hurricane preparedness.