LaToya Cantrell Became The First Woman Mayor Of New Orleans. She's Now Celebrating A Second Term.

ESSENCE joined New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell as she was sworn in for her second term last week, promising a renewed commitment to the city.
Jeff Strout/Strout Photography
By Tiyana Jordan · January 21, 2022

As the crisp air carried the final cues of the jazz horns and trumpets, Mayor LaToya Cantrell —accompanied by her daughter and processional of family and friends— took the oath of office Monday, January 10 for her second term with a renewed commitment to New Orleans.

Acknowledging that the city of New Orleans has shown their civic trust rooted in her ability to serve has given her the opportunity to look forward in her role.“The best is truly yet to come,” promised Mayor Cantrell despite the continued impact caused by the pandemic and other challenges that have burdened the city.

Addressing a scaled down crowd of in-person supporters, Cantrell emphasized how the current administration is taking an innovative approach to build a future of new growth sectors, the city’s public health plans, and improved infrastructure.  These endeavors all receive funding as a part of the $387.5 million federal coronavirus relief funds allocated by The American Rescue Plan directly issued to the city of New Orleans. “We have become an example to the federal government that when they invest big—the impacts are huge,” assured Cantrell. One example being the investment in levees that did not fail when level 5 Hurricane Ida hit the city.

WATCH: New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell on the city’s infrastructure

“This administration has fought hard for our fair share,” proclaimed Cantrell. Which to her testament uniquely positions New Orleans to compete for billions in funding to allocate towards issues such as public safety, inequitable wages, and deep budget cuts due to lost revenue. Based on her tone of optimism and the resilient spirit of a city that has been tried and tested, Cantrell firmly stated, “Investments into our people is an investment into our city.”

Not only is New Orleans implementing policies to disrupt systemic issues it has also seen a unicorn technology platform start and scale into a billion-dollar company as the city revolutionizes its tech playing field for entrepreneurs.   “New Orleans has found itself on the global stage relative to tech that is bringing along black women and minorities and embracing the jobs of the future. This is who we are and where we are going,” said Mayor Cantrell.

Mayor Cantrell on inauguration day with her daughter | Jeff Strout/Strout Photography

The first Black woman Mayor of New Orleans was asked why representation matters at the level of government she represents. Mayor Cantrell removed her mask and said with a humbling smile that women who have demonstrated they can lead on the legislative side can also lead on the executive side.

She continued that representation matters because young girls can see that they’re able to be leaders with a purpose. Having graced the stage with her sister Mayors from around the country at ESSENCE FESTIVAL 2019 Mayor Cantrell mentioned the continued partnership and camaraderie with black women leaders is an invaluable opportunity to lean on each other for support while in servitude to their communities.

Excited about this year’s 2022 return of ESSENCE FESTIVAL, Mayor Cantrell is looking forward to embracing the real culture of African American women in leadership and kicking off its “party with a purpose” as it empowers our people and culture.