Another glass ceiling is shattering in politics: for the first time in nearly 300 years, the city of New Orleans’ next mayor will be a Black woman.
The candidates for mayor are City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and former Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet. In Saturday’s election, Cantrell garnered 39 percent of the vote to Charbonnet’s 30 percent. Former Civil District Court Judge Michael Bagneris was knocked out of the running with only 19 percent of the vote.
LaToya Cantrell is known as the more progressive candidate and has been officially endorsed by the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper. Raised in Los Angeles, Cantrell moved to New Orleans at 18 to attend Xavier University. A community organizer, Cantrell supports a $15 minimum wage and criminal justice reform. She also helped lead the effort to ban smoking in New Orleans’ restaurants and bars.
Desiree Charbonnet hails from a political family whose roots in New Orleans date back for centuries. Her family also operated the Charbonnet Funeral Home in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans. Charbonnet is known for her efforts on the bench to steer repeat drug and prostitution offenders to treatment programs instead of jail.
The two candidates will face off in the November 18th runoff.
The winner of the election will replace New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu who, due to city term limits, will be leaving office.
He has not officially endorsed a candidate.