Council member who rose to prominence in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, as their first female mayor since its founding nearly 300 years ago.
“Almost 300 years, my friends” Cantrell said during her victory speech. “And New Orleans, we’re still making history.”
Cantrell fended off a challenge from former municipal Judge Desiree Charbonnet in a landslide win that saw her obtain over 60 percent of the vote, Politico reported. She will replace fellow Democrat Mitch Landrieu, who was not eligible to run for re-election because of term limits.
“We deserve better and together we truly will be better,” Cantrell told supporters on Sunday morning. “This victory is not about LaToya Cantrell, this campaign did not start about self. It only started with and has been rooted in the people of New Orleans.”
Cantrell grew up in California and moved to New Orleans to attend the Xavier University of Louisiana. She was praised for her stint as the president of the Broadmoor Improvement Association in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which serves the hard-hit neighborhood of Broadmoor.
When city officials suggested transforming the neighborhood into parkland, Cantrell organized protests and championed a rebuilding effort that catapulted her into a city council seat in 2012, for which she was re-elected in 2014.
Cantrell was the clear frontrunner throughout the mayoral race, persistently leading in the polls and soundly surpassing Charbonnet in fundraising. Her campaign credited its inventive use of social media to reach demographics that typically do not engage with local elections.