By Edwin Buggage
Historic Night in New Orleans
New Orleans voters went to the polls and history was made as the City elected its first woman Mayor, LaToya Cantrell and the first Asian-American elected to the City Council Cyndi Nguyen, in District E.
Mayor-Elect LaToya Cantrell
During her campaign party held at the New Orleans Jazz Mart in Central City, the mayor-elect was surrounded by her family and supporters stating this is not just a win for herself and her family, but for the City of New Orleans as cheers filled the room. This sentiment is based on the grassroots approach she took while campaigning going into communities and meeting citizens to understand their needs and concerns. This bottom-up approach is one of the factors that led to her victory on Election Night.
Sheppard, Banks and Nguyen Victorious in Races for Judge and City Council
In two other races that were on the ballot, Attorney D. Nicole Sheppard won the contest for Civil District Court Division J over Attorney Omar Mason. In one of the closer races this evening in a nail biter decided by 131 votes Jay Banks, Director of Dryades YMCA defeated former School Board Member Seth Bloom in the City Council Race for District B. And in a surprising upset Cyndi Nguyen won a seat in District E, an area that includes New Orleans East and the Lower 9th Ward against incumbent James Gray to become the first Vietnamese-American to serve on the New Orleans City Council.
New Orleans: A City and its Future
These are historic times for our City as we are on the eve of our 300th Anniversary. And as we look at our electing LaToya Cantrell as our first woman mayor, what is also of note is the composition of our new City Council. One that will be more diverse and younger than any time in our recent history; it is in these times that hopefully the Mayor’s Office and the City Council can work together to create public policies that are progressive and empower more of the citizens of New Orleans. It is important that their visions and actions lead to solutions to the many problems that plague our City.
Community Chain of Accountability
But without us engaging help to guide this process this desirable state will not happen. Again, we experienced low voter turnout. But for our City to turn around we must become more involved with not just voting in higher numbers, but in civic engagement more generally.
It is in this that first, individuals must become more accountable for their actions. Secondly, families must invest more time raising their children planting the seeds for greatness in young people. Our community leaders whether they come from the church or grassroots must take up the task of bringing issues that affect our communities to elected officials who in turn create public policy that works for more people of our City. It is in this model that we all become stakeholders in our future. And in the words, that sum this spirit up best came from Desiree Charbonnet who in her concession speech said in a gracious gesture if LaToya Cantrell does well as Mayor we all do well. But adding to that sentiment I say if ‘we’ all do well our City is better for all of ‘us’ and ‘we’ all must do our part.