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New Orleans Elects First Woman Mayor In 300-Year History

New Orleans Elects First Woman Mayor In 300-Year History

Photo credit: Michael DeMocker

Former City Council member LaToya Cantrell was elected the next mayor of New Orleans in an overwhelming 60% of the vote victory. The historic run-off election with fellow Democrat Desiree Charbonnet now makes her the first woman to be elected mayor in the city's nearly 300-year history.

Cantrell, who represented Council District B, added another first to the city's history as a district council member has never before won the office. While New Orleans mayors typically come from families with political pedigree, well-established ties to the civic and business community, and native roots to New Orleans, Cantrell beat all odds by having none of these qualifications.

Hailing from California, Cantrell grew up in the southern part of the state until she began attending an HBCU in 1990. Although college was a part of her family’s background on her father’s side in Alabama, she faced a tough start growing up in Reagan-era Los Angeles that could have led her into another direction. Despite growing up in difficult conditions, Cantrell eventually became a sociology major at Xavier University where she began to lay her roots in New Orleans.

Cantrell's work as a neighborhood activist post-Katrina in the hard-hit neighborhood of Broadmoor helped her win a seat on council in 2012. Her non-profit expedited Broadmoor's recovery after the devastating hurricane hit New Orleans in 2005.

Photo credit: Michael DeMocker, Pictured: Cantrell hugging her daughter after her election night victory.

With the election cycle moved up by several months, current Mayor Mitch Landreau will remain in office for six months before Cantrell takes his seat in May 2018. 

Congratulations, Mayor-elect Cantrell on blazing a trail and breaking the glass ceiling!