LaToya Cantrell elected first female mayor of New Orleans

City council member LaToya Cantrell has been elected the first ever female mayor of New Orleans.

The mayor-elect defeated fellow Democrat and municipal court judge Desiree Charbonnet in the runoff election on Nov. 18. Cantrell won 60 percent of the vote and a total of 51,342 votes while Charbonnet earned 33,729 votes.

Cantrell and Charbonnet earned places in the runoff election after the general election in October. Cantrell congratulated Charbonnet on her campaign and also for helping her to make history by having two women in the runoff election.

Cantrell’s successful campaign used a grassroots approach through social media and direct voter outreach.

Though now the mayor-elect, Cantrell will not be inaugurated until May, meaning Mayor Mitch Landrieu will remain in office for six more months. Cantrell will succeed Landrieu as the city celebrates the 300th anniversary since its founding.

Cantrell, originally from California, attended Xavier University and remained in New Orleans as an activist in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Cantrell was elected to the city council in 2012 and was re-elected in 2014. As a council member, Cantrell led the passage of an ordinance that prohibited smoking in many public areas of New Orleans.

During her campaign, Cantrell promised to address the issue of crime in addition to mending the city water and sewage drainage infrastructure.

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