LaToya Cantrell

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LaToya Cantrell

LaToya Cantrell, former president of the Broadmoor Improvement Association, represents the Uptown-based District B on the New Orleans City Council following her runoff victory in the 2012 special election. She is also a candidate in the 2017 mayoral race.


Personal Life and Career

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell listens to resident Babom Horton during a campaign event Tuesday evening at a home in Broadmoor.

Though Cantrell was born in Los Angeles, California, she spent her summers with her paternal grandparents in Birmingham, AL. No stranger to politics, Cantrell l began her lifetime career of civic engagement early in life and became secretary of her neighborhood chamber of commerce by the time she was in the eighth grade. [1]

She came to New Orleans in 1990 to attend Xavier University for her undergraduate degree. While she attended school, Cantrell said she noticed the disparity between what she calls the "two New Orleans."

“That’s what drew me in and kept me in the City of New Orleans,” LaToya says. “Those disparities that made me care about people, wanting to make life better for everyone in every neighborhood of this city.”[2]

After graduating from Dillard, Cantrell became an education advocate in a local nonprofit to improve public education. She married Jason Cantrell in 1999 and they moved to the Broadmoor neighborhood into a house on the Louisiana Avenue Parkway.[3]

Mayoral Race 2017

Cantrell announced her candidacy online via her campaign website on April 20, 2017.[4]

Currently, Cantrell is running against Desiree Charbonnet, Michael Bagneris, Sidney Torres and Frank Scurlock. According to two recent polls in mayor's race (neither independent), Cantrell is leading by a slight margin 23 percent, with Torres at 17, Charbonnet at 15 percent and Bagneris at 7.

Smoking Ban

Issues on the City Council

Cantrell comforts the parents of 1-year-old Londyn Samuels, who was killed by gunfire while her babysitter held her in Central City, at a news conference at Cafe Reconcile in August 2013.

Violent crime | Early in her term, Cantrell announced her support for stronger gun laws. [5] Following several murders at the intersections of Washington and Broad streets in Broadmoor, [6] she announced that she would be awarding a grant to the neighborhood to support the installation of private anti-crime cameras, later expanding that effort to the Freret and Irish Channel neighborhoods.[7]

District B includes Central City, and after the death of 1-year-old Londyn Samuels, Cantrell convened a summit of elected officials to think of ways to share in the responsibility for reducing the city's murder rate, and they pledged more oversight of the New Orleans Police Department and other law-enforcement agencies[8]. That led to a meeting of the City Council Criminal Justice Committee about recruiting efforts, where the NOPD promised to hire 150 new officers in 2014. [9]

Economic Development | Cantrell was a strong proponent of the Magnolia Marketplace shopping-center development at the site of a former Central City housing project. Amid criticisms from residents about an additional 1-percent tax on sales at the site designed to offset infrastructure costs[10], Cantrell argued that Magnolia Marketplace would be a catalyst for other retail development in Central City[11].

Housing | Mayor Mitch Landrieu once referred to her as "like a dog on a bone" when it comes to fighting blighted properties[12], which Cantrell has taken as a compliment. Cantrell has said that affordable housing in the city is a priority for her, and has decried the administration of the Road Home program. Cantrell promised to assist any District B residents living in a home rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina who has received a letter from Road Home. [13]

Cantrell rode in the Krewe of Zulu in 2013.

Mardi Gras | Among Cantrell's first challenges after election as dispersing unruly groups of young teens gathering on Amelia Street just off the parade route. Soon after her election, Cantrell said she would be responding to complaints about behavior on Mardi Gras parade routes by compiling revisions to the city's Carnival laws. After a series of meetings with neighborhood groups, she announced a set of changes that created a new uniform distance of six feet from the curb for all ladders -- replacing the old, difficult-to-enforce standard that they must be as far back as they are tall. It also prohibits parking on either side of St. Charles Avenue or Napoleon Avenue during parades. [14] She subsequently added another provision that bans the roping off of the neutral ground during parades. [15]

Another provision would have banned unwrapped toilet paper from being thrown from floats (a signature of the Krewe of Tucks), which Cantrell later explained is viewed as a burden to clean for the city's sanitation workers. Following some outcry over that provision, however, Cantrell removed it from the ordinance -- explaining that Tucks riders had already bought the throws for 2014 -- but said she will revisit it later. [16]

Electoral history

Eric Strachan, LaToya Cantrell, Dana Kaplan and Marlon Horton participate in a debate sponsored by the Bouligny Improvement Association on Sept. 24, 2013.

In 2012 Cantrell initially faced three opponents: Marlon Horton, Dana Kaplan and Eric Strachan. Cantrell enjoyed the support of Stacy Head and other officials, while Kaplan was endorsed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Sheriff Marlin Gusman and others. [17] Cantrell led the field in the primary election, with Kaplan coming in second. Strachan then endorsed Cantrell, and Horton endorsed Kaplan. [18]

Cantrell celebrates her runoff victory over Kaplan on Dec. 8, 2012.

In December, Cantrell won the runoff with 54 percent of the vote, over Kaplan's 46 percent. [19] In late 2013, no opponents qualified to challenge Cantrell for re-election, making her the only member of the City Council to return to office without opposition[20].

External Links


  1. Campaign website
  2. Campaign website
  3. Campaign website
  4."Kicking off mayoral bid, Cantrell proposes idea of electing New Orleans police chief separately," June 10, 2017
  5."Councilwoman Cantrell to speak at vigil against gun violence," Dec. 27, 2013
  6."Broadmoor begins installing anti-crime cameras," Jul. 8, 2013
  7."Broadmoor aims to have 100 anti-crime cameras in place by year’s end," Jun. 17, 2013
  8."After children’s deaths, city and state lawmakers push for more oversight of NOPD, other law enforcement agencies," Sept. 12, 2013
  9."New Orleans City Council searches for ways to rebuild police ranks amid staffing “crisis”," Sept. 25, 2013
  10."Neighbors air questions about upcoming Magnolia Marketplace and sales-tax increase," Nov. 14, 2013
  11."City Council gives final passage to sales-tax increase for Magnolia Marketplace," Nov. 21, 2013
  12. "Mayor: New Second District police station will be in Gert Town," Aug. 28, 2013
  13."Cantrell pledges help for those “harassed” by Road Home letters," Jan. 16, 2014
  14."Changes to Mardi Gras ladders, toilets and parking all under consideration for 2014 parades," March 30, 2013
  15."Council recommends ban on roping off neutral ground during Mardi Gras parades," Jan. 14, 2014
  16."Toilet-paper throws won’t be banned from Mardi Gras after all, councilwoman’s office says," Jan. 10, 2014
  17."Kaplan wins endorsement of Mayor Landrieu, Congressman Richmond and five others," Oct. 18, 2012
  18."Alliance for Good Government tests District B candidates on their knowledge of City Hall," Sept. 18, 2012
  19."Election analysis: Solid base surrounding Broadmoor propelled Cantrell to victory," Dec. 9, 2012
  20."With re-election secured, Cantrell gets back to work — starting with Mardi Gras ordinance," Dec. 17, 2013
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