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After 4 battle-tested years, LaToya Cantrell cruises to second New Orleans mayor term

Cantrell .jpeg
Phoebe Jones / WWNO
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell. May 2021.

After four battle-tested years, LaToya Cantrell won another term as the mayor of New Orleans. Cantrell has been declared the winner by receiving 64% of the vote with 89% of the votes reported, according to WWL-TV at about 9:30 p.m.

Out of her 13 competitors, the nearest competitor was Vina Nguyen, with just 13%.

Cantrell spent the last four years leading the city through a litany of problems, including the collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel project, COVID-19 and Hurricane Ida.

The construction project fell to the ground in October 2019, killing three of its more than 60 construction workers on the site at the time of the collapse. Since then, the city and the site’s developers have been entangled in lawsuits and are still trying to figure out what to do with the site.

Months later, New Orleans turned into an early COVID-19 hotspot after the virus unknowingly spread during Mardi Gras, leading Cantrell to implement the first set of strict restrictions in the city before St. Patrick’s Day festivities. On March 20, she announced a “stay at home mandate.”

"It is what it is, stay at home, work from home when you can. Only go out for essential services," Cantrell said during a press conference.

Cantrell would keep some protocols in place, like the mask and vaccine mandate, the latter of which is still in effect, throughout the pandemic, despite the business and tourism community’s opposition.

The mayor also had to overcome unpopular policy decisions like moving City Hall to the Municipal Auditorium building, increasing the number of traffic cameras that ticket drivers and problems with regulating the city’s trash collection companies. The trash problem was especially at the forefront of Hurricane Ida, when residents cleaned out fridges full of food before weeks-long power outages, resulting in rotting garbage across the city.

“The only thing that will give real comfort to the residents of the city is action,” said Cantrell. "They want this trash removed. They want the city cleaned up — I do as well.”

The issue prompted Cantrell to temporarily reduce trash pickup to once a week, and the city is considering municipal service.

Cantrell has also pushed for more affordable housing, green infrastructure and economic development in the city.

Historically, incumbent New Orleans mayors have had success in re-election campaigns, but with COVID-19 preventing her competitors from hosting in-person campaign events early in the campaign season, Cantrell was able to coast to victory.

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