Voters in the city of New Orleans elected City Council member LaToya Cantrell as mayor Saturday, the city’s first woman to be elected mayor in its 300-year history. A woman was already assured to be in the mayor’s office, as Cantrell, a Democrat, took on another female Democrat in Judge Desiree Charbonnet in the run-off to replace departing mayor Mitch Landrieu. Cantrell won with 60 percent of the vote.
From the Associated Press:
Katrina was a theme in the backstory of both candidates. Cantrell moved to the city from California. Her work as a neighborhood activist in the aftermath of Katrina in the hard-hit Broadmoor neighborhood helped her win a seat on council in 2012.
Charbonnet, from a well-known political family in New Orleans, was the city’s elected recorder of mortgages before she was a judge. In the campaign she made a point of saying hers was the first city office to re-open after Katrina, providing critical property records to the displaced.
Cantrell will take office with a few questions surrounding her political career that still need to be answered. During the race, the 45-year-old faced criticism from the Charbonnet campaign over her City Council credit card usage. “Some of Cantrell’s spending remains unexplained, particularly the usefulness of her international travel,” the Times-Picayune reports. “The Louisiana Legislative Auditor is investigating all City Council credit card spending, which has totaled more than $400,000 since 2013.”