Mayor Latoya Cantrell governs in the face of the strongest most organized recall efforts in New Orleans history. Belden “Noonie Man” Batiste is a driving force behind the movement. We interview him to check the progress near the halfway point. Noonie Man speaks about the recall.
Where It’s At, Where It’s Going, And Who’s Really Behind it
If you ask Noonie Man to do an interview about the recall at 8 o’clock, he will call your phone at 8 o’clock. On the dot. And text you if you don’t answer.
“Hey, I said I told the man 8 o’clock, so it’s 8 o’clock. I like to be on time, you know.”
Ain’t nothing wrong with that. But lets jump into this with the question everybody wants to know: Who’s really behind this? And what do you to say to people who say y’all are just out here repping for white people, two of them to be exact?
“Man let me tell you, listen that wasn’t true. They wanna say that most of the money came from two white men. But most of the money came from everyday people. I’m talking about Independents, Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats, people with no party. And listen, the trip part is that the same two white men who donated to us donated to the mayor. Let’s open up all 450 pages of her campaign finance and see who’s donating to her. Now, we can’t control who donate, but let me tell you this straight up: I’m running this show, me and Eileen Carter — two black people!”
Alright then, so where y’all at with the recall? You’re at the half way point right?
“Yeah we half way through. We just waiting on more mail outs to come back, you know. The first batch came back in. And we were impressed with the first batch, so I think we doing good.”
Noonie Man Speaks About the Recall
How y’all looking signature-wise?
“The last time we counted we were like at 30%. But after the holidays we doing another count, you know. So I would say by the end of December we should know where we at.”
Who’s counting these signatures?
Now that we’ve all had our stockings stuffed with mail out petitions, what’s the next move?
“I don’t want the mayor knowing our next move. But it’s time to get aggressive. Even with the mayor giving us a gift everyday.”
Speaking of gifts, is the drama behind appointing a new police chief an early Christmas present?
“Man let me tell you, The lady she’s trying to put in there couldn’t lead a 3rd grade class down the street. She don’t have a plan, and the mayor don’t want her to have a plan.”
Why wouldn’t the mayor want the new chief to have a plan?
“Because she wants to be in control. People been there [the NOPD] 20 years and didn’t get a promotion. And you gon tell me somebody come in one or two years, and you give’em a promotion? That’s why 86% of the police said they not satisfied. It’s not about the consent decree. It’s not about the pay. But it is about favoritism, nepotism, sexism, and cronyism. I talked to the police. She not worried about qualifications. She just wants somebody she can control.”
Noonie Man Speaks About the Recall
Her defying the Council might be good for more signatures, right? But if she relents, then maybe she’s starting to show signs of a mayor ready to work together and compromise.
“The citizens voted for the Council to have confirmation over her appointees. So if you go ahead and appoint a chief, you piss the people off. If you bring somebody in and do a national search that’s going to take a year and a half. So we in a pickle. We gotta see if we can get somebody within the force or somebody else who knows how to run it.”
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Besides the chief, she’s even given y’all the gift of Marc Morial too, right?
“She gives us a gift everyday. But yeah, she threw him under the bus when she named names. Talking about the apartment, she was like ‘Mitch Landrieu did it. Marc Morial did it.’ That was a mistake, playing with Marc like that. I knew Marc was going to clear his name. He straight up said she was lying about the apartment.”
All this gift giving and yet there’s still a lot of signatures left to get.
“People always doubting us. They said we wasn’t getting off the ground. But we off the ground. They said we wasn’t getting the money. Now we got the money. We doing everything. I even challenged the mayor to a debate. Guess what I wanted to call it? The Rumbo in The Gumbo. We reached out to her about it.”
I’m sure she didn’t respond to that.
“Nope. She won’t debate me, because I’m a hit her on the hard questions.”
Well, 2 months to go until February 22nd, how do you see this actually playing out?
“This is what I think: either the recall is going to happen, she resigns, or the FBI gets her behind the fraud in the Wisner Fund. She won’t release the names of the people getting money because it’s all her friends. That’s what’s going to nail her.”
What’s the last thing you want the people to know?
“The mayor can talk all she wants. But are you doing the job? That’s what the people wanna know. And she’s not. But we gotta get this city moving, bruh. If we leave this lady there for 3 more years, we done.”