Mayor Cantrell making second ‘sister city’ visit to France in past 14 months

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 11:52 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Mayor LaToya Cantrell embarked Monday (Sept. 18) on her second taxpayer-funded trip to France in the past 14 months, City Hall announced.

A statement from the mayor’s office said Cantrell is making a six-day sojourn to the European nation in order to renew a “sister city” agreement with the French town of Orleans, and also to experience the Orleans Loire Festival and the inaugural Paris New Orleans Jazz Festival.

The mayor is scheduled to return to New Orleans on Sunday (Sept. 24).

It was in July 2022 that Cantrell journeyed to France to sign a “sister city” agreement with the mayor of Antibes Juan-les-Pins, a chic resort town near Nice on the French Riviera.

That trip for Cantrell and three aides cost more than $40,000, according to records obtained by Fox 8. The mayor’s first-class flight alone cost almost $18,000.

Cantrell eventually was forced to repay more than $29,000 in luxury travel expenses initially billed to city taxpayers for that trip and another six-day visit to Ascona, Switzerland, where another “sister city” agreement was on her agenda about a week after her return from France.

Monday’s announcement of this week’s trip to France made no mention of whether any City Hall aides or members of her executive protection team were accompanying Cantrell.

The statement said Cantrell would spend Tuesday through Thursday in Orleans, a town about a two-hour drive south of Paris in the Loire Valley. There, the statement said Cantrell would meet with Orleans mayor Serge Grouard and “other Orleans sister cities mayors” to “share and exchange dialogue on each city’s climate adaptation efforts, including water conservation.”

From Friday until her departure Sunday, Cantrell “will visit Paris at the invitation” of Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo for the inaugural Paris New Orleans Jazz Festival. The festival was described by City Hall as “a cultural exchange of New Orleans’ music and cuisine, as well as a revitalization effort of the Goutte d’Or neighborhood, in partnership with the Paris 360 Studio, the New Orleans Jazz Museum and the Dillard University Ray Charles program.”

The statement added, “While in Paris, Mayor Cantrell also anticipates to meet with Secretary-General of the International Organization of la Francophonie Louise Mushikiwabo to discuss ways to further promote and expand the use of the French language throughout New Orleans.”

Cantrell said in the statement, “I look forward to growing this beneficial collaboration and sharing exchanges on cultural, educational, economic and governmental affairs that will further showcase our standing as the world-class international city that we are.”

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Click Here to report it. Please include the headline.

Subscribe to the Fox 8 YouTube channel.