Mayor Cantrell holds ‘State of the City’ address, touching on infrastructure, economy and crime

“This spirit that refuses to be broken is known and it is called hope.”
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 9:51 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Mayor LaToya Cantrell held her annual “State of the City” address on Wednesday night, talking highly of her administration’s progress on the issues of infrastructure, economic development and crime in New Orleans.

“Our revenues are healthy, our economy is rolling, and we are investing in our people, all of our people,” Cantrell said.

The mayor opened the speech talking about the Coronavirus pandemic, acknowledging the citizens who have died and praising the public servants who worked through the uncertainty.

Cantrell also touched on federal dollars the city has received to put toward infrastructure projects.

“Many of the results are not speedy, but the real work is getting done. We’re not cutting corners, we’re not making excuses, we understand there are complexities in the work that we’re doing. We understand that we’re reaching and touching root causes to issues that have plagued our community for generations,” she said.

Among the economic development successes, Cantrell touted were the revitalization of Charity Hospital and the ongoing work to grow the city’s bio innovation district.

She also praised the city’s hospitality industry and workers, saying unemployment is down and nightlife is booming.

On the topic of public safety and crime, Mayor Cantrell talked of her administration’s actions to support NOPD through bonuses, raises and incentives for officers.

“I’ve talked a lot about fighting. Fighting to get here, fighting to take on the issues and the challenges. But you know what, I’m tired of fighting. You know, my team, we’re tired of fighting. Right now, we’re ready to build,” Cantrell said. “We want to build on all the progress that we fought to have happen in our city.”

The mayor also referenced back to some scandals that have drawn criticism this year, starting with her support of a juvenile offender found guilty of carjacking multiple women.

The victims, upset that Mayor Cantrell appeared in court to support the carjacker’s family, said at the time that Cantrell only said “God bless you” to them while walking out of court.

“When I say, and every time I say, may the spirit of the lord be with you and God be with you and God bless you, I mean that because I live my faith every single day,” she said. “I hope that it resonates with the families that have experienced violence in our community.”

Cantrell appeared to reference Lee Zurik’s Outside the Office investigation into her use of the city-owned Pontalba apartment, spending hours inside during the workday with a member of her security detail.

“Violence, we know, shows up on the streets of New Orleans, but it shows up in households. It shows up amongst friends. It shows up even in public meetings. We have to reject it wherever it is,” Cantrell said. “It shows up even around my apartment that I have a right to utilize.”

Dillard University political analyst Robert Collins said that, while the speech was well put together, he was surprised that Cantrell would bring up the Pontalba.

“She chose to mention the apartment in the Pontalba building. That’s really not appropriate subject matter for a speech,” Collins said.

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