By Jade Myers
It’s not often that you get four New Orleans mayors together in one sitting. But on April 5th, mayors: present-past-and-future, took a walk down memory lane in the City they served, for a New Orleans Tricentennial event hosted at Loyola University. Moon and Mitch Landrieu, Sidney Barthelemy and LaToya Cantrell comprised the group of City leaders who embarked on this exercise.
“In order for the City to move forward, we must make sure that everyone in the City has a chance to participate and we need to get people to know that diversity in New Orleans is a strength,” said current New Orleans Mayor, Mitch Landrieu.
As the City turns 300-years old, it also made history when voters elected the first woman to win a mayoral seat in New Orleans in 2017. Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell said that she is looking forward to her inauguration day in May. She said that being the first female to be elected feels great, but that it also comes with great responsibility. Cantrell said that she knows there is much work that needs to be done, and that her top priority is improving the Sewage and Water Board but hopes to have people in office that are looking out for all individuals and not just certain groups.
“We need to address the needs of our children and families, and I believe that women bring a spirit of empathy and compassion being able to meet people where they are,” Cantrell said. “I’m very excited for the future of our City,” she said.
The former mayors gave Cantrell advice on how to handle situations she may face while in office. Mitch Landrieu told Cantrell that while serving his terms in office, many people did not agree with some of his decisions, like removing the Confederate monuments from the City.
Landrieu said that he hoped that people would eventually follow the spirit of what he was trying to do for the City.
“Don’t be discouraged because everyone is rooting for you, but always trust your instinct,” Barthelemy said as an encouragement to Cantrell. “We all need to come together for the goodness of the City,” Barthelemy said.
The event was the Ninth Ed Renwick Lecture Series hosted by the Institute of Politics and the Norman C. Francis Leadership Institute. The former Xavier University President said that the goal of the series was to engage in dialogue where leaders could support the mayor-elect and come together for the City to progress into the next century.
“Cantrell is going to be a great mayor, we have to get behind her and work together,” Francis said.