LaToya Cantrell made history over the weekend when she was officially elected as the new Mayor of New Orleans, making her the first Black woman to hold the office in the city’s 300-year existence. As we continue to celebrate this historic accomplishment, here are a few facts about the 45-year-old mother of one to help you get to know her a little better.
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She was born in Los Angeles and spent much of her childhood in the California area, while also spending time with her grandparents in Alabama as a child.
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Her first jobs as a teenager included working at Del Tacos, McDonald’s and Blockbuster Video.
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She earned her Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Xavier University in New Orleans, before later completing an executive management training program at Harvard University.
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As president of the Broadmoor Improvement Association, Cantrell led efforts to oppose mayor Ray Nagin's recommendation that 5 New Orleans neighborhoods be turned into greenspace due to excessive flood damage.
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Her contributions to the recovery efforts included assisting with the re-opening of Broadmoor's Rosa F. Keller Library, assisting returning residents with rebuilding the neighborhood and spearheading the opening of the Broadmoor Art & Wellness Center, among other things.
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She is an avid New Orleans Saints fan.
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She was elected to the New Orleans City Council in 2012 and re-elected to serve a 4-year term in 2014.
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As city council member, she introduced a bill banning smoking in bars and restaurants in NOLA that passed in 2015.
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As Chair of the City Council's Community Development Committee, she worked alongside housing advocates and developers to confront the city’s affordable housing crisis.
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She has been married to her husband for 18 years and has one child, a 9-year-old daughter. She plans to create a space her new City Hall office where her daughter can do her homework to reassure her that she will remain a priority as her mother transitions into the new role as mayor.
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Cantrell made a conscious decision to attend an HBCU because it was instilled in her growing up.
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Cantrell says her goal as Mayor is to "build on our strengths to make the first truth [of a rapidly growing city where the average income is rising and new businesses are flourishing] a reality for all New Orleanians.”
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