Well clearly this is not going well. Barely a year into her 2nd term, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is earning her nickname. But Latoya the Destroya is on the verge of destroying herself. Not like her literal self, but her reign as mayor self. Some citizens have quite frankly had enough. A recall petition has been filed. And businesses all over the city are sponsoring signature drives.
Whether the recall is racially motivated, politically motivated, or if you listened to Belden Batiste, one of the petition’s sponsors, on WBOK’s The Reality Check, emotionally motivated, one thing is for sure: the mayor has not helped herself. It’s been one head scratching thing after another with her from the jump.
Let’s take a walk.
During her initial campaign, Mayor Cantrell promised that the speeding and red-light cameras would be shut down once she was elected. Most citizens hated the cameras. But after she got in office, what happened? We found out that the cameras had been kept on behind our backs. And to this day they are still up and running.
Then there was the Hard Rock calamity. Remember that? The Hard Rock Hotel collapsed on itself, killing three workers and forcing the Saenger theater and surrounding business to shut down. People suggested developer neglect. City inspectors committed fraud. The mayor’s response was: We’ll look into that. While she dragged her feet “looking into that,” research revealed that the developers contributed to her PAC. But of course, the mayor denied the contributions had any influence.
Fast forwarding to the present, the city has a major crime problem. Haphazard street construction is just as widespread as carjackings. And while all this goes on, the mayor is criticized for flying all over the planet and supporting a carjacker.
Does Mayor Cantrell Need To Go?
But the travel stuff is media childishness. If she was in good social standing, they wouldn’t even bring it up. Think Mitch Landrieu who spent more on travel than Cantrell. Still, in response, this highly intelligent woman got on TV and actually said that the travel agency just books trips on its own without input. But later we find out that she’s been upgrading her flights.
Showing up in court to support that carjacking kid was, to be nice, rather tone deaf. While citizens, mostly black ones, are being terrorized by carjacking teens, the mayor decided to show up in court and support one. Somehow, she couldn’t understand why some people wouldn’t see that as a nice gesture.
She had a real chance to highlight her program to rehabilitate juvenile offenders. She could have introduced the offender to the lady he carjacked. Instead, she coddled the defendant and ignored his victim.
In other tone-deaf news, last week the mayor decided to travel to Florida to watch her baby fly to the moon. Her baby in this case being the Artemis I rocket. There was no ambassador like business or sister city signings going on. The mayor just hopped on a flight to see the rocket off because it was built at the NASA facility in Michoud. (Yes, that was her actual explanation, after all the commotion about her travels). Meanwhile, she informed citizens that the city would not be reimbursed for the aforementioned flights she upgraded.
Related: The Mayor Flexed on the Press
But maybe there’s hope. The mayor has basically thrown up the bat signal, summoning Gotham’s finest to help save the NOPD. The Caped Crusader (NYPD Chief of Patrols Fausto Pichardo) is set to descend upon the Crescent City. He is here now as a consultant to help fix internal issues with the department. Meanwhile, the mayor has also proposed significant bonuses and raises to keep present officers and recruit new ones.
This is the first time since Covid that mayor Cantrell has identified a problem and did something practical about it. Is this a sign of things to come? Will citizens give her time to turn her mayorship and the city around? So far the recall has only garnered 3,000 of the necessary 53,000 needed signatures. Polls say one thing, but lack of signatures says another. Best guess is that the mayor will be granted the rest of her term to figure things out. We can only hope that becomes the case