Mayor Latoya Cantrell vows to shake things up to move the city forward

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - In a venue named for one of the city's favorite daughters, Latoya Cantrell altered New Orleans history, taking the oath of office to become the city's first female mayor.

It was a historic moment witnessed by a standing room-only crowd of invited guests inside the Mahalia Jackson Theatre for the Performing Arts.

"We made history. We did because after 300 years, don't you think it's about time a woman was in charge? You did that," said Cantrell to applause.

Cantrell's ascension to the mayor's office is a milestone for a city marking its 300th birthday.

"We broke every kind of glass ceiling and every color line and old and outdated rule about who's supposed to be mayor, about what that mayor is supposed to look like or where he was supposed to be born," said Cantrell.

Cantrell was raised in Los Angeles by her single mother. She came to New Orleans in 1990 to attend Xavier University and never left.

Cantrell, who served on the City Council before running for mayor, said she will work for the betterment of all citizens, regardless of their standing in life.

"We're going to do things that matter, and we're going to do things that make some people a bit uncomfortable every now and then. But make no mistake - we are going to do things, all of them together, we're in this together."

"So today's speech was full of emotion, it was full of passion and was really targeted at a group of New Orleanians that feel left out of the booming economy, that feel like they have been disenfranchised from politics. This was a popular speech," said FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman.

With true New Orleans flavor, Cantrell sashayed out of the theater and into Armstrong Park in a second-line recessional. She takes over a city still grappling with the decades-old gun violence problem and of late, a troubled Sewerage and Water Board operation.

"Public safety, we have so many issues, public safety, infrastructure, absolutely, creating an Office of Youth and Families will be a top priority, as well," Cantrell said following the inaugural.

"So the margin of error is zero with the Sewerage and Water Board. I think we've got to expect Mayor Cantrell to make some announcements in the coming weeks about how she wants to right the ship over there. It starts with an executive director, and it starts with a leadership team," said Sherman.

Even as Cantrell assumes the second floor mayor's office to continue the crime fight and address the lingering problems with the Sewerage and Water Board, she said she feels a great deal of hopefulness across the city.

"There is a lot of hope, and I see it even on your faces here. It's in the bones of this city," Cantrell told her audience.

Still, during her inaugural address she put citizens on notice that she expect their help.

"The day is not just about me, it's about us. Because there's no magic wand. We're going to have to all work together to move this city forward," said Cantrell.

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