Once the second congressional district race is settled in April, the next major election in New Orleans will be held on October 9. At that time, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and all the city council members, except for one, will be eligible to run for re-election.
At this point, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is a heavy favorite to win re-election for another four-year term. The last incumbent Mayor of New Orleans to lose re-election was Robert Maestri in 1946, so the odds certainly favor Cantrell.
She will enjoy tremendous advantages as an incumbent. The Mayor will control the message, the local media, and the money. Her campaign war chest totaled approximately $430,000 in mid-February. As the election draws closer, it will be filled with donors looking for favors in New Orleans. Thus, her campaign commercials and the earned media coverage she will be able to generate will dominate the local television airwaves.
Now that the COVID relief package has been passed, New Orleans will see a massive influx of federal money. Approximately $375 million will flow into New Orleans. This funding allowed the Mayor to end the furloughs for city workers and fill all the holes in the budget. It will also help with next year’s budget.
Last week, it was announced that one potential challenger, New Orleans City Councilwoman-at-large Helena Moreno, will not run for Mayor, but will seek re-election. At this point, there is no viable political contender on the horizon raising funds and planning to challenge Cantrell.
It is a crying shame that there is no politician of stature ready to challenge Cantrell for re-election. She certainly does not merit another term in office.
Her record has been truly disastrous. The city is still extremely dangerous and public safety has only gotten worse during Cantrell’s term. New Orleans ranks as one of the murder capitals of the nation and experienced an enormous increase of violent crime in 2020.
The NOPD is still suffering from a major manpower deficit, several hundred officers below adequate staffing. Other city services have been lacking as well. The infrastructure in New Orleans is deplorable and the problems of the Sewerage and Water Board have persisted.
The delays in the demolition of the Hard Rock Hotel have been extremely embarrassing. In fact, eighteen months after the partial collapse of the building, the demolition is continuing.
The Mayor entered the last race facing a controversy over the use of her city issued credit cards. After being elected, she endured a story in the media about $90,000 in unpaid federal taxes. Despite the personal financial issues and the city’s considerable problems, she recently had the time to enjoy another Aspen Institute workshop. This one was held at a resort in the British Virgin Islands, how fancy!
If the numerous Aspen Institute events truly offered any solutions for dysfunction municipal governments, Cantrell would have been able to solve all the city’s problems for she is a regular attendee at their functions. Alas, the problems have only become worse for New Orleans as the Aspen Institute offers no solutions.
Instead, it is mainly a networking opportunity for liberal elitists. It is no surprise to learn that Prince Harry will be joining the Aspen Institute as a Commissioner on their new Commission on Information Disorder. Possibly, Cantrell will be able to spend time with the Prince and his bride at a future workshop discussing world problems and the tragedies of media disinformation.
Unfortunately, back in the real world of New Orleans, there is an economic disaster that has been created by this Mayor. Since the pandemic, New Orleans has been basically shut down as Cantrell has focused on “keeping the city safe.” Thus, the lifeblood of the city’s economy has been fundamentally destroyed.
According to Stan Harris, President and CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, the economic lockdown forced approximately 25% of all restaurants and bars in the state to close permanently. This cost Louisiana at least 27,000 jobs that may never come back to the state. Many of these losses have been in New Orleans. This does not include the music clubs and other venues that have been devastated by the lack of tourists coming to New Orleans.
As the economy of New Orleans slowly begins to reopen, the Mayor will take credit for the recovery in her re-election campaign. It is imperative that voters be given the other side of that lopsided story. A challenger must emerge to offer voters not only a choice, but also competence.
The reality of Mayor Cantrell is that she is not a competent leader and has been a total failure. No politician with such a track record deserves to win re-election by acclamation.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs nationally on Real America’s Voice Network, AmericasVoice.News weekdays at 7 a.m. CT and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America’s Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on Crouere.net. For more information, email him at [email protected]