Mayor Cantrell wins second term, promises focus on infrastructure

Martha Sanchez, Staff Reporter

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Mayor Cantrell promises to refurbish infrastructure in her second term. (PopTech )

Incumbent New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell won a second term on Saturday, vowing to continue her infrastructure priority that she says will support the city for decades to come.

“It is up to us to ensure that the cultural capital of the United States of America continues to thrive,” Cantrell said in a victory speech broadcast on WWL-TV. 

Cantrell thanked New Orleans residents who saw leadership skills in her that they wanted to keep. She won 64.7% of votes

Her next term will be crucial in defining the city of New Orleans for decades to come, Cantrell said in her victory speech. 

Her reelection gives her the opportunity to continue her programs, Rosalind Cook, adjunct assistant professor in the political science department, said.

“We’ll be keeping the city of New Orleans on the same track,” Cook said.  

Cantrell promised to uphold her previous term’s focus on greater infrastructure. She emphasized better roads and drainage, but also greater transportation, technology and affordable housing all backed by the recently passed federal infrastructure bill and bond money her administration pushed for. 

Hurricane Ida was the most recent reminder of the city’s infrastructure needs. Problems with garbage collection left debris on city curbs for weeks. 11 people died as mass power outages caused blackouts and made air conditioners inoperative.    

Cantrell acknowledged that intense storms are coming more frequently and said she will also focus on sustainable resiliency and building for the future.   

“It means that we have to continue to play to our strengths,” she said. 

13 candidates challenged Cantrell. None of them were as widely known or funded, though altogether they received around 40% of the vote, suggesting public opposition to Cantrell’s previous four years in office.

“Her challenges are to convince the voters that did not cast their vote for her to believe that she is moving the city forward,” Cook said.

Cantrell’s victory four years ago made her the first female mayor of New Orleans. She began her political career in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as a community activist and leader in the Broadmoor neighborhood. She served the five years before her first mayoral election as a city council member. 

Her first term as mayor was marred by city crises. The New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board had flooding problems, the famous Hard Rock Hotel collapsed and COVID-19 devastated New Orleans in the earliest days of the pandemic. 

 Among her promises on infrastructure and environment, Cantrell also said her next four years will focus on public safety. That means investing in early childhood education and retaining officers who have demonstrated their abilities for constitutional policing.

“This is our time,” Cantrell said.