New Orleans City Council ends Upper Pontalba use, overrides Mayor’s veto

Published: Aug. 24, 2023 at 11:37 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2023 at 4:21 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The New Orleans City Council on Thursday (Aug. 24) voted to override Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s veto of an ordinance aimed at barring her use of the city-owned Upper Pontalba Apartment.

The Council’s action marks the conclusion of a contentious debate and paves the way for significant changes in how the apartment is managed and utilized.

The override passed by a vote of 5-2, with Council members Oliver Thomas and Eugene Green in opposition. Councilman Freddie King, who was absent when the ordinance was initially passed, voted in favor of returning the apartment to the French Market Corporation.

By doing so, the city aims to potentially generate an annual rental income of close to $36,000.

Mayor Cantrell’s veto sparked debate centering on her and future mayors’ authority to retain access to the apartment. Her use of the apartment during the Essence Fest weekend, highlighted in Fox 8 investigations, prompted questions about her compliance with newly established rules regarding city-owned property use that prohibited overnight stays.

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office called the decision a “personal vendetta” by the council and denied Cantrell violated the city’s original ordinance.

“I think we’ve come to the end of this long obsession that they’ve had with this residence and certain city council members rather put their vendettas first as opposed to doing the people’s work,” City Communications Director Gregory Joseph said.

Mayor Cantrell may have violated council ordinance with more overnight stays in Pontalba...
Mayor Cantrell may have violated council ordinance with more overnight stays in Pontalba Apartment

Council President J.P. Morrell, an advocate for the ordinance has previously emphasized the positive impact that the generated revenue could have on vital city programs and projects.

As the Council’s decision unfolds, the attention now shifts towards the French Market Corporation’s plans for the apartment, potential rental arrangements, and the overall impact of this resolution.

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