The city of New Orleans officially under new management.
Just under 6 months after defeating her Republican opponent in the 2017 mayoral election, Mayor LaToya Cantrell was officially sworn in during an inaugural ceremony on Monday, May 7. Taking to the podium before a room of her political peers, community leaders and local residents, the 46-year-old wife and mother delivered her first official speech as Mayor.
Opening her address with words of appreciation for the unwavering support from her fellow politicians including preceding NOLA Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, as well as words of gratitude for the local voting community who elected her to office, Mayor Cantrell was proud to celebrate just what the historic moment means as the city continues it tricentennial celebration.
"All I can say is, 'Wow! Wow! New Orleans, you look good at 300," Cantrell said. "And you know what, we look good at 300. And we broke every kind of glass ceiling and every color line and old, outdated rule about who's supposed to be mayor; about what that mayor is supposed to look like, or where he is supposed to be born. But it tells me that each and every one of you took a good, hard look at where we are, where we want to be, and how we want to get there, and you put your faith in me and I thank you so much. We made history!
After 300 years, don't you think it's about time a woman was in charge? YOU did that."
We're going to do things with purpose, we're going to do things that matter and we're going to do things that make some people feel uncomfortable every now and then. But make no mistake, we are going to do things, all of them together, we're in this together.
Mayor Cantrell also used her 13-minute inaugural speech to briefly address several of the city's most pressing issues, including the grossly disproportionate am]mount of funding allocated towards improving communities of color. She challenged her counterparts to join her in working towards a solution-based plan of action.
"We're taking on the challenge of moving forward into the next 300 years of life in our city of New Orleans," the Mayor continued. "And at a time when the political climate truly demands that major urban leaders step up, I need you."
"And at a time when the financial climate sees growing success and investment in our city, but far too many, far too of our people are still left behind. When, in a city that is over 60 percent African-American, over 92 percent of commercial construction dollars go to white-owned firms. All we are looking for is balance and equity."
Mayor Cantrell's presence in office also holds a special place in our hearts here at ESSENCE, as it will mark the first time a Black woman has been mayor of the city during our annual ESSENCE Festival weekend, taking place July 5-July 8. The city of New Orleans has welcomed ESSENCE Fest for 24 years and counting.