Initiative Co-Chair, Mayor Hyram Copeland, represents Mississippi River Mayors for 2015 Papal Visit

Date: September 23, 2015

Contact: Shawn Flaherty, 703-554-3609


MEDIA ADVISORY SEP 23: Mississippi River Mayors were represented by Hyram Copeland, Mayor of Vidalia, LA at White House Arrival Ceremony for Pope Francis

What: Mayor Hyram Copeland of Vidalia, LA and Co-Chair of the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative was invited by President Obama to join him for the White House Arrival Ceremony of Pope Francis on September 23. Mayor Copeland represented the mayors of the Mississippi River for this important event. Then, the Mayor joined faith leaders from around the nation for an interfaith climate meeting at the National Cathedral. 

When: Wednesday, September 23, 8:30am EDT for White House Arrival Ceremony Thursday, September 24, 6:30pm EDT for Faith & Climate Dialogue 

Who: Mayor Hyram Copeland, Vidalia, LA (MRCTI-Co-Chair) Colin Wellenkamp, Executive Director, MRCTI

Where: White House National Cathedral 

How: Accredited members of the press may interview Mayor Copeland by contacting Sheri Rabb at 601-870-1204 or by email at

Why: The Mayors of the Mississippi River embraced Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the Environment as part of their own call to action for the Mississippi River. Also, mayors are hoping that climate risk and the environment will be part of the Pope’s message when he addresses a joint session of Congress on September 24. MRCTI is an effort to bring national attention back to the Mississippi River—America’s most critical natural asset—and cultivate a new level of regional cooperation to make it more sustainable. As the ecological linchpin to the 37-state Mississippi River Basin, the River is responsible for creating $400 billion worth of U.S. GDP; providing drinking water for more than 20 million; transporting 40 percent of the nation’s agricultural output; delivering nearly 400 tons of coal and petroleum products; and directly supporting one million jobs and millions more indirectly.