While it is typically difficult to guarantee that an election will be historic, New Orleans will have that honor this November when they choose between two women to be their first ever female mayor.
In 2014, term-limited Mayor Mitch Landrieu moved the municipal elections from spring, when it perpetually coincides with New Orleans’ Sugar Bowl and Mardi Gras, in the hopes of increasing voter turnout. As a result, New Orleans is expected to have the highest amount of votes ever recorded for female mayoral candidates in New Orleans, and one of them is assured a win win. After the city’s “Louisiana primary” last October, in which all candidates competed on one ballot regardless of party, the top two candidates proceeded to a run off: LaToya Cantrell and Desiree M. Charbonnet. While both candidates identify as Democrats, there are key differences between the two regarding their views on crime, income inequality and small businesses.
New Orleans Mayoral Election
Date: November 18, 2017 Runoff with a October 14, 2017 Louisiana Primary
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Current Job: District B Representative, New Orleans City Council
Education: BA in Sociology from Xavier University of Louisiana; executive management training at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government
Campaign Themes: Before running for elected office, Cantrell gained acclaim after Hurricane Katrina as a public advocate for rebuilding the Broadmoor neighborhood. As city councilwoman, she advocated for affordable housing and improving conditions of all New Orleans residents with a focus on public safety and small business growth. She authored and whipped the votes for the “Smoke-Free” ordinance in New Orleans in the face of private business opposition, which bans smoking in bars, casinos and other public spaces.
Endorsements: Independent Women’s Organization, Gambit Magazine, The Times-Picayune, Higher Heights for America, Working Families, The Louisiana Weekly, New Orleans Coalition, Black Organization for Leadership Development, Treme/TIPS, Step Up Louisiana
Candidate Name: Desiree M. Charbonnet
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Current Job: Former Chief Judge of Orleans Municipal Court
Education: BA and JD from Loyola University
Campaign Themes: A lifelong resident of New Orleans, Charbonnet served he first female Recorder of Mortgages before working as the first woman elected to the bench of Municipal Court in New Orleans. Charbonnet advocates for three primary issues: affordable housing, increased wages for New Orleans residents and a five-year plan to address crime and public safety. She has been criticized for being closely affiliated with the party machine in New Orleans, with questions of her independence from the party.
Endorsements: AFL-CIO, Congressman Cedric Richmond, IDEA, New Orleans Fire Fighters, ILA, United Teachers of New Orleans, Algiers Political Action Committee, New Orleans East Leadership
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By Mikala Cohen, BallotReady Blog Intern