Cantrell Says She Is “Tired of Fighting” in State of City Address

Photo Courtesy of Mayor Latoya Cantrell’s Facebook Page

It’s been a rough few months for Mayor LaToya Cantrell. She has faced rising public ire over stalled roadwork, rotting trash, and a high crime rate. Public investigations have revealed a wealth of potential misuses of public funds and property in the form of upgraded airline flights and hotel stays, as well as her ongoing use of a city-owned apartment rent-free. There’s also a federal investigation into her use of more than $230,000 in campaign funds to pay for a personal stylist. But in Wednesday’s State of the City address, Cantrell said that she’s tired of fighting and that it’s time for the public to turn its attention to other things.

“I’ve talked a lot about fighting. Fighting to get here, fighting to take on the issues and the challenges. But you know what? I’m tired of fighting,” said Cantrell. “Right now, we’re ready to build. We’re going to build on our progress that we have fought to have happen in our city.”

Cantrell pointed towards several initiatives overseen by her administration as proof that she has focused on the well-being of New Orleans’ residents throughout her administration, including a city-administered project that provided rental and utility assistance to over 17,000 households during the pandemic. Other initiatives touted by Cantrell included the $13 million in downpayment assistance for first-time homebuyers, $8 million in investments towards supporting the New Orleans homeless population, and a $5 million cultural fund that offers grants to the city’s “culture bearers.”

Cantrell pointed toward municipal projects that are ongoing throughout the city, including the $34 million Sewerage and Water Board power substation that broke ground earlier this week, and the ongoing revitalization of Charity Hospital. Cantrell pointed to federal funding that the city has spent on several infrastructure projects.

“Much of the work isn’t flashy, and many of the results are not speedy – but the real work is getting done,” Cantrell said. “We’re not cutting corners, we’re not making excuses, we understand there are complexities in the work that we’re doing. We understand that we’re reaching and touching root causes to issues that have plagued our community for generations.”

But even in the midst of touting her administration’s accomplishments, Cantrell couldn’t help but reference at least two of the ongoing controversies her administration is facing: an ongoing recall effort, which she called on residents to reject, and her use of the Pontalba apartment.

“Violence, we know, shows up on the streets of New Orleans, but it shows up in households. It shows up amongst friends. It shows up even in public meetings. We have to reject it wherever it is,” Cantrell said. “It shows up even around my apartment that I have a right to utilize.”

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