LaToya Cantrell

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LaToya Cantrell
LaToya Cantrell (1).jpg
62nd Mayor of New Orleans
Assumed office
May 7, 2018
Preceded byMitch Landrieu
Member of the New Orleans City Council
from District B
In office
December 19, 2012 – May 7, 2018
Preceded byStacy Head
Succeeded byJay Banks
Personal details
LaToya Wilder

(1972-04-03) April 3, 1972 (age 49)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Jason Cantrell
EducationXavier University of Louisiana (BA)
WebsiteOfficial website

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.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

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.[3] She attended an executive training program at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Broadmoor neighborhood work[edit]

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.[4] 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.[5][6] 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.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9] She was involved with residents' efforts to reopen Broadmoor's Rosa F. Keller Library, which won a $2 million grant from the Carnegie Endowment.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12]

Political career[edit]

New Orleans City Council[edit]

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.[13] Cantrell served out the balance of Head's term, and was unopposed for a full four-year term in 2014.[14]

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.[15] The council unanimously passed the bill in 2015.[16]

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.[17][18] In 2017, Cantrell introduced legislation with at-large council member Jason Williams to register and inspect rental units in the city.[19]

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.[20][21][22]

2017 mayoral election[edit]

Cantrell declared her candidacy for mayor of New Orleans in March 2017 in a race to replace term-limited mayor Mitch Landrieu.[23] An open primary was held on October 14 and included 18 candidates. Cantrell garnered the most votes, winning 39% of the total.[24] 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,[25][26] as well as the first mayor not born in the city since Vic Schiro.[27]

Mayor of New Orleans[edit]

Cantrell was inaugurated as mayor on May 7, 2018, the first woman to hold the position in the city's history.[28] 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.[29] 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.[30] As part of that initiative, in October 2018 the City of New Orleans filed a lawsuit against four opioid manufacturers and distributors.[31]

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. [32] 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. [33]


In 2016, Cantrell was given a lifetime achievement award by the presidents of Tulane, Loyola and Xavier universities and the University of New Orleans for her service to the community.[34]

Personal life[edit]

Cantrell lives with her husband Jason and daughter RayAnn in New Orleans.[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Morris, Robert (December 19, 2012). "LaToya Cantrell sworn in as City Council Member". Uptown Messenger. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  2. ^ Rainey, Richard. "LaToya Cantrell elected New Orleans' first female mayor". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  3. ^ "LaToya Cantrell: Councilmember District "B" Biography". New Orleans City Council. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  4. ^ Wooten, Tom (2012). We Shall Not Be Moved. Boston: Beacon Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-8070-4463-6.
  5. ^ Shevory, Kristina (February 25, 2007). "A New Orleans Neighborhood Rebuilds". The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  6. ^ Scott, Esther (2008). ""Broadmoor Lives": A New Orleans Neighborhood's Battle To Recover from Hurricane Katrina (A)". Harvard Kennedy School Teaching Case Series: 1.
  7. ^ Scott, Esther (2008). ""Broadmoor Lives": A New Orleans Neighborhood's Battle To Recover from Hurricane Katrina (B)". Harvard Kennedy School Teaching Case Series.
  8. ^ Abramson, Larry. "New Orleans School Devastated By Katrina Reopens". National Public Radio. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  9. ^ Wooten, Tom (2012). We Shall Not Be Moved. Boston: Beacon Press. pp. 137–152. ISBN 978-0-8070-4463-6.
  10. ^ "New Orleans Celebrates Opening of Carnegie Corporation-funded Rosa F. Keller Library and Community Center". Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  11. ^ Wooten, Tom (2012). We Shall Not Be Moved. Boston: Beacon Press. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-8070-4463-6.
  12. ^ "Broadmoor Arts and Wellness Center opens in New Orleans". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  13. ^ Rainey, Richard (December 8, 2012). "LaToya Cantrell wins New Orleans City Council seat in District B". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  14. ^ Woodward, Alex (January 21, 2014). "The New Orleans City Council Race". The Gambit. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  15. ^ McClendon, Robert (November 20, 2014). "Smoking ban introduced before New Orleans City Council; Cantrell wants vote before March 1". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  16. ^ Woodward, Alex (January 22, 2015). "New Orleans City Council passes smoke-free ordinance banning smoking in bars and casinos". The Gambit. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  17. ^ Hasselle, Della (November 30, 2015). "City gets one step closer to building "low-barrier" homeless shelter". The Louisiana Weekly. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  18. ^ Sayre, Katherine (March 16, 2017). "New Orleans' old VA hospital picked for homeless shelter". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  19. ^ Woodward, Alex (January 18, 2017). "New Orleans rental registry and inspections gets City Council support, but debate will continue". The Gambit. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  20. ^ Morris, Robert (June 17, 2013). "Broadmoor aims to have 100 anti-crime cameras in place by year's end". The Uptown Messenger. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  21. ^ Morris, Robert (September 12, 2013). "After children's deaths, city and state lawmakers push for more oversight of NOPD, other law enforcement agencies". The Uptown Messenger. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  22. ^ Morris, Robert (September 25, 2013). "New Orleans City Council searches for ways to rebuild police ranks amid staffing "crisis"". The Uptown Messenger. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  23. ^ Williams, Jessica (March 31, 2017). "LaToya Cantrell is Officially Running for Mayor of New Orleans". The Advocate. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  24. ^ "Louisiana Secretary of State". Voter Portal / Secretary of State. State of Louisiana. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  25. ^ Marans, Daniel (November 18, 2017). "Progressive Community Organizer Prevails in New Orleans Mayoral Race". HuffPost. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  26. ^ "Who is LaToya Cantrell? The backstory of New Orleans' mayor-elect". Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  27. ^ Chavez, Nicole (November 19, 2017). "LaToya Cantrell elected first female mayor of New Orleans". CNN.
  28. ^ LaRose, Greg. "LaToya Cantrell inauguration: Here's the schedule". Time-Picayune. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  29. ^ Williams, Jessica. "Mayor LaToya Cantrell establishes new offices within City Hall, gun violence council". The Advocate. The Advocate. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  30. ^ City of New Orleans. "#FairShare". City of New Orleans. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  31. ^ Clark, Maria. "City of New Orleans sues opioid manufacturers and distributors". Times-Picayune. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  32. ^ Clark, Maria. "Fair Share deal reached between Cantrell, Gov. Edwards". WDSU. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  33. ^ Clark, Maria. "Fair Share deal reached between Cantrell, Gov. Edwards". Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  34. ^ "LaToya Cantrell wins lifetime achievement award". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  35. ^ "LaToya Cantrell: Councilmember District "B"". Retrieved May 18, 2017.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Mitch Landrieu
Mayor of New Orleans