Landrieu in final days as mayor; Cantrell expects added scrutiny

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Mitch Landrieu is in his final days as the city's mayor and Latoya Cantrell is gearing up to take over the job and all the challenges that come with it.

Cantrell said this week that she expects to face greater scrutiny.

From the outside, City Hall looks as it always does, but inside the way is being cleared for the change in leadership.

"The chaos that often surrounds a transition hasn't really been here as much because it's been a five-month ordeal, so I think today is a thoughtful day to pack up some boxes," said FOX 8 Political Analyst Mike Sherman.

In bidding good-bye to departing City Council members, Landrieu jokingly held up a device counting down his remaining time in office.

"Seconds, but who's counting," Landrieu said to laughter.

"Mayor-elect, you and I are about to, with the rest of the city, celebrate democracy's greatest gift in America, which is the peaceful transition of power," Landrieu said to Cantrell, who is currently a council member.

History will be made when Cantrell takes office.

"I'm the first female, and of course, an African-American woman, and I feel with that higher scrutiny, you know, is around me and on my back, so in no way do I want to fail, in no way do I not want to deliver for the citizens of New Orleans," she said.

"I think for the next three days it's the last chance they take a deep breath before they're in the line of fire, solving the city's problems," said Sherman.

Sherman served as Landrieu's executive counsel during his first-term as mayor.

"Eight years ago, Mitch Landrieu knew he would be judged on how his team responded to the issue of crime. Right now, Mayor-elect Cantrell knows how she responds to the Sewerage and Water Board and our drainage crisis is how she will be judged," said Sherman.

Cantrell was elected in a landslide last November. Sherman thinks she would do well to tackle her bold agenda items sooner rather than later.

"Advice I've heard some mayors give others is do big things first. I think that Mayor-Elect Cantrell is going to come into office in a time when big things are demanded of her, including her response to the drainage crisis and reorganization of the Sewerage and Water Board. This is going to be a very brief honeymoon. Her team has to hit the ground running on day one," said Sherman.

"I believe that we've prepared for leadership, and we're prepared for this task at hand," Cantrell stated.

Cantrell said crime-fighting, along with drainage issues, are top concerns for her new administration.

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