LaToya Cantrell made history in New Orleans on Monday, becoming the first woman and the first Black woman to be sworn in as mayor in the city’s 300-year history.
“There’s only one way that we can make the city better,” Cantrell said. “We really have to be willing to try, and not only try, we have to believe. We have to believe in one another. We have to step up to the challenge of moving our city forward together. The key to that is you.”
Cantrell, 46, beat serious odds, securing the vote of a city that primarily leans towards candidates who hail from The Big Easy. As a native of Los Angeles, Cantrell moved to New Orleans when she began her education at Xavier University. For the last five years, she served as a member of New Orleans’ city council.
Cantrell, a Democrat, succeeds Mitch Landrieu, who held office for the past seven years after he was elected in 2010.
New Orleans, like many other prominent cities in America faces a large economic gap, as the city faces growing gentrification, income equality and rising unemployment. Many of these challenges disproportionately affect African-Americans, who make up 60 percent of the city.
Cantrell’s platforms include economic empowerment, environmental safety and leading the city to become more inclusive of minority owned development firms, leading to job growth and industrialization.
Cantrell now adds her name to a growing list of Black women tapped to run one of America’s biggest cities, after several history making elections in Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte and Washington D.C.