NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - New Orleans mayor Latoya Cantrell is wrapping up a year, in which she dealt with major crises, including a cyber shutdown at City Hall and the Hard Rock Hotel collapse.
But she says 2019 was also filled with many achievements.
With a large majority of computers at City Hall shut down, by a ransomware attack, Cantrell reflects on a year filled with challenges.
“They started with the 9th floor Wednesday and working their way down,” said Cantrell.
Computer experts are now rebuilding city computers after a ransomware attack last week, with the city now saying a cyber insurance policy that may pay out $3 million dollars might not be enough.
The City Hall cyber-attack came in the midst of a flurry of major events in the year’s final weeks, including a mass shooting on Canal St., a turbine explosion at the water plant, and methane explosion in the French Quarter.
“We’re closing out a decade, and I told my staff pile on all you can. It sounds like that’s what’s happening around here,” she said.
Looming over all the city's challenges as we head into the New Year continues to be the hard rock hotel, and the mayor says the demolition plan now being worked out is the most respectful way to deal with this ongoing tragedy.
“The city did spend dollars, and we’ve taken every step necessary to make sure we recoup the dollars spent on this tragedy,” said Cantrell.
As Cantrell works out the details on a Hard Rock demolition plan, she looks back on a year that included political victories.
The city secured $50 million new dollars from the hospitality industry, for roads and pipes, and won key election victories for a new Airbnb tax, and $500 million in new infrastructure bonds. And she says the city’s murder rate will likely end the year, at another record low, some 20% below last year.
“It’s gonna be a decade to remember I tell you that,” said Cantrell.
The mayor says her administration is now spending a two billion dollar FEMA grant for roads, and infrastructure, at 8x the rate of the previous year.
As for the future of Hard Rock, she says it will take at least two months to stabilize the collapse site, before demolition can begin, sometime in March.