New Non-Profit Attacks Mayor Latoya Cantrell

Partially Collapsed Hard Rock Hotel building” by Infrogmation is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“It’s time to save New Orleans.”

A new non-profit, Let’s Save NOLA, Inc. that pledges to shield the identity of its donors, has emerged on the political landscape to strongly suggest that Mayor LaToya Cantrell not be re-elected. The arrival of the group’s website,, comes just days after Cantrell rolled out her first television commercial.

“Over the past four years, Mayor LaToya Cantrell has consistently failed the people of New Orleans. Promises and commitments she made in 2017 have gone unfulfilled, and as a result, our communities have suffered. If our city remains under her leadership, it will continue to decline. It’s time to saves New Orleans,” the website suggests.

Those behind the organization include LSU graduate research assistant Seth Bradley and Mandeville CPA Michele Avery as well as former City Attorney Bill Aaron as registered agent. They are part of a broad-based group of citizens “deeply concerned” about the future of New Orleans. “Our organization is made up of a racially and politically diverse group of individuals who recognize that the failed policies of Mayor Cantrell have brought our beloved city to her knees. The issues of rampant crime, a severely depressed economy, a shrinking population, and the lack of any viable solutions deserve discussion and immediate action.”

In seeking contribution, they will endeavor to give contributors the anonymity “to positively impact the Crescent City without fear of personal attacks and repercussions.”  

The group claims to be recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501©4 tax exempt organization. That designation is assigned to social welfare organizations that “must not be organized for profit and must be operated exclusively to promote social welfare,” according to I.R.S. guidelines. In addition, donations to 501©4 organizations are not tax deductible. Receiving tax-exempt status in rarely quick or easy. The application might have been originally submitted six months ago or more.

Utilizing media sources to corroborate their allegations, the organization’s website singles out what they consider Cantrell’s most flagrant failures – not adequately addressing the rise in violent crime, treating businesses harshly which slowed recovery and increased the budget deficit, supporting developers’ interests rather than the public in the Hard Rock Hotel collapse, stalling the reopening of the local economy after State opens back up, first trying to defund the public library system then defending Irvin Mayfield who stole from the library foundation, advocating to move City Hall to Municipal Auditorium in Armstrong Park over the objection of Treme residents and culture bearers, using public funds to travel to Cuba without explaining the reason for trip, abysmal record on job creation, knowingly accumulating years on tax liens on a family home, overtly improper use of City credit card, and an exceedingly cozy relationship with Entergy to the detriment and expense of taxpayers.

Despite what detractors might call a failure in leadership, Cantrell still wins outright in the primary according to two polls taken by outside groups in recent months. Some campaign operatives equate Cantrell’s high polls numbers to a lack of recognizable competitors. So far, businesswoman Leilani Heno, an Independent, is building visibility as a viable alternative.  

It’s one thing for an organization like Let’s Save NOLA, Inc. to create a website which highlights the shortcomings of a mayor who nonetheless remains popular with many voters.  It’s quite another to identify and support a credible candidate willing to take on an incumbent mayor.   

Matt Hill, manager of Sukho Thai restaurant in the Marigny, was a candidate for mayor in 2016. He intends to qualify again this week. While answering the restaurant’s telephone Friday night, he was invited to participate in a non-live poll for mayor and city council. Hill says the choices for mayor were Cantrell, Heno, USMC Lt. Col. Brandon Gregoire (Ret.) and restaurant owner Dickie Brennan.  

A lecturer at Tulane, Gregiore lost a race for State Senate. Brennan operates a successful restaurant group that includes four restaurants located in the French Quarter, City Park’s Acorn Café and The Commissary, a commercial kitchen. He has never sought public office but is extremely active in the tourism community. Another tourism official considered running for mayor four years ago but ultimately decided against it. 

The New Orleans Advocate printed a guest editorial by former Criminal Court Judge Arthur Hunter where he outlined his all-hands-on-deck approach to reducing crime. After losing the race for District Attorney, Hunter could be a viable candidate for mayor if he had the necessary resources. The timing of his op-ed and the Let’s Save NOLA launch might not be a consequence.              

Eighteen people ran for mayor in 2016 including 11 Democrats, 3 Independents and 2 No-Party. This year’s race could draw a similar crowd. Qualifying begins Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. and continues until Friday at 4:30 p.m.  

Immediately after the close of qualifying, the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee will host a social with its members, candidates and elected officials at the Aloft Hotel’s WXYZ Bar at 225 Baronne Street. The event is free and open to the public and includes a cash bar.  RSVP at Secretary

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