Cantrell missing from inauguration announcement

Cantrell missing from inauguration announcement

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - With less than three weeks before she's inaugurated as New Orleans' newest mayor, Latoya Cantrell has been noticeably absent from her news conferences. She has also repeatedly failed to answer questions about serious issues facing the city.

There was another news conference Friday about Cantrell's plans for the future. This time, organizers released a video promoting her May 7 inauguration and announced a series of events surrounding that day. But once again, the mayor-elect was no where to be found.

Reporter: "Can you tell us why the Mayor-elect is not here today?"

Mason Harrison, Cantrell's communications director: "Well, she is focused on interviews and she is planning on making an announcement in terms of top hires that are coming out next week so, that is a priority for her."

But, throughout her transition period, the mayor-elect has dodged questions about important issues in New Orleans. We've requested interviews about everything from the drainage crisis facing the city to the attorney general's investigation into her use of a city-issued credit card.

Reporter: "We've requested numerous on-camera interviews with the mayor-elect and have been told repeatedly that she's unavailable. Is this going to change come May 7th?

Harrison: "So, all those requests we have received, we are fielding and we will respond to you in short order. Make no mistake about it, she is transparent, she is open, and she wants to be accessible to the public in general."

And when she did attend a recent event, she rushed away from our camera as we tried to ask her about a new development in the attorney general's investigation.

Reporter: "Do you have any comment about today's agreement with the attorney general's office?

Cantrell: "I haven't seen anything today."

Dillard University political scientist Robert Collins said it's highly unusual for a mayor-elect to be absent from the public.

"This is certainly not the norm," said Collins. "Normally, when a new mayor or a new governor or a new chief executive of any type is elected, during the transition period is normally when that person opens up to the press and to the public to let them ask all the questions that they have to ask."

And he doesn't believe we will see a change once she's inaugurated next month.

"Because, keep in mind, once that person is sworn in they simply won't have the time because once they're inaugurated they're going to be hit with a lot of issues in their first 100, 200, 300 days," said Collins.

Reporter: "I'm sure there's many New Orleanians that want to hear from their mayor-elect, and we have not really heard from her from the media. What's your response to that, to those who want to hear from her?"

Harrison: "Well, she certainly did a recent sit down interview that was very extensive."

That interview was with the Gambit Weekly.

"Harrison: Of course we are receiving all of the requests that we have received in terms of sit-down interviews with other print outlets and other electronic outlets, and we intend to respond to those request in short order."

Collins said it's also very unusual for an inaugural committee to call a press conference to announce the details of the inauguration without the person being inaugurated being there at the press conference.

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