|62nd Mayor of New Orleans|
|Assumed office |
May 7, 2018
|Preceded by||Mitch Landrieu|
|Member of the New Orleans City Council|
from District B
December 19, 2012 – May 7, 2018
|Preceded by||Stacy Head|
|Succeeded by||Jay Banks|
April 3, 1972
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Education||Xavier University of Louisiana (BA)|
LaToya Cantrell (born April 3, 1972) is an American politician serving as the Mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana, a post she has held since May 7, 2018. Cantrell, a Democrat, is the first woman to hold the post. Before becoming mayor, Cantrell represented District B on the New Orleans City Council from 2012–2018.
Early life and education
Cantrell was born as LaToya Wilder in Los Angeles. She moved to New Orleans in 1990 to attend Xavier University of Louisiana, where she earned a BA in sociology. She attended an executive training program at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Broadmoor neighborhood work
Cantrell returned to New Orleans in 1999, settling in the Broadmoor neighborhood. In 2003, she joined the board of the Broadmoor Improvement Association and became president of the association in 2004. After the 2005 levee failures in Greater New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, the Broadmoor neighborhood flooded severely and remained mostly deserted for months afterward. In early 2006, the Bring New Orleans Back Commission, a blue-ribbon panel convened by then-mayor Ray Nagin, released a recovery plan that called for Broadmoor and five other New Orleans neighborhoods to be converted into greenspace. In her role as president of the association, Cantrell worked with residents and local religious leaders to organize opposition to the panel's recommendation. She also helped enlist returning Broadmoor residents in a six-month effort to write a recovery plan for the neighborhood.
Cantrell worked full time to implement Broadmoor's recovery plan from 2006 through 2012. She and fellow residents formed the Broadmoor School Board, overseeing the reopening and renovation of the Andrew H. Wilson school. She served as a founding board member of the Broadmoor Development Corporation, a community development corporation that provided case management and other social services for returning residents. She was involved with residents' efforts to reopen Broadmoor's Rosa F. Keller Library, which won a $2 million grant from the Carnegie Endowment. She created a partnership between the Broadmoor Improvement Association and Church of the Annunciation, which provided the neighborhood association with office space and hosted volunteer groups. She also formed a partnership between the Broadmoor Improvement Association and her home parish, Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, to open the Broadmoor Art and Wellness Center.
New Orleans City Council
In 2012, Cantrell declared her candidacy for the New Orleans City Council seat vacated when former District B representative Stacy Head won an election to an at-large position. After the November election, candidate Dana Kaplan and Cantrell advanced to a December runoff, which Cantrell won with 54 percent of the vote. Cantrell served out the balance of Head's term, and was unopposed for a full four-year term in 2014.
As a council member, Cantrell focused on health, housing, and criminal-justice issues. She introduced a bill banning smoking at restaurants and bars within New Orleans, citing the health effects of secondhand smoke on service industry workers. The council unanimously passed the bill in 2015.
Also in 2015, Cantrell began work to open a low-barrier homeless shelter, a move that was objected to by residents because of its proposed placement in Central City, New Orleans. Instead, the shelter was moved to the downtown site of the former VA Hospital. In 2017, Cantrell introduced legislation with at-large council member Jason Williams to register and inspect rental units in the city.
As a member of the Criminal Justice Committee, Cantrell has participated in efforts to install crime cameras in her district, assess the effectiveness of citywide anti-gun-violence campaigns, and address understaffing at the New Orleans Police Department.
2017 mayoral election
Cantrell declared her candidacy for mayor of New Orleans in March 2017 in a race to replace term-limited mayor Mitch Landrieu. An open primary was held on October 14 and included 18 candidates. Cantrell garnered the most votes, winning 39% of the total. In the November 18 runoff election, Cantrell defeated fellow Democratic opponent Desiree Charbonnet, a former municipal judge, with 60% of the vote. She is the first woman to lead New Orleans in its 300-year history, as well as the first mayor not born in the city since Vic Schiro.
Mayor of New Orleans
Cantrell was inaugurated as mayor on May 7, 2018, the first woman to hold the position in the city's history. Once in office, she established a new Office of Youth and Families, with the goal of creating a strategic plan to address families in crisis in the city. Cantrell also founded a Gun Violence Reduction Council tasked with finding solutions to violent crime. Starting with a push to rededicate hotel taxes collected within the city for city use, Cantrell has focused on her #fairshare initiative to improve city infrastructure, public transportation, public parks, and green spaces. As part of that initiative, in October 2018 the City of New Orleans filed a lawsuit against four opioid manufacturers and distributors.
During the 2019 session of the Louisiana Legislature, Cantrell negotiated the Fair Share Agreement with Governor John Bel Edwards and city, state, and tourism officials. The agreement secured $50 million in upfront funding for the city's infrastructure needs as well as $26 million in annual recurring revenue for the city.  Following the approval of the Fair Share Agreement, New Orleans voters approved three of the four proposals Mayor Cantrell and the City Council put on the ballot in the 2019 general election. Voters approved a $500 million bond sale and a tax on short-term rental properties, as well the establishment of a Human Right Commission under the New Orleans Home Rule Charter. 
Cantrell lives with her husband Jason and daughter RayAnn in New Orleans.
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