By Jasmine Baehr | Fox News | July 1, 2022
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s city could be on its way to record-setting crime as violence plagues blue cities nationwide.
She is the latest to follow the pattern of Democratic leadership laid out by mayors like Eric Adams of New York, Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles and Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C.: lingering economic troubles from strict COVID policies, homelessness and rampant crime.
Cantrell’s approval rating is at 44%, according to a June 21 Faucheux Strategies and New Orleans Crime Coalition poll among 800 city residents with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.
That is almost a 20-point slip in just a single year from the same pollster.
Cantrell made history as the first female mayor of the Crescent City and started her second term in January.
She has faced political and legal backlash for what many consider Draconian COVID policies and her personal disregard in following them throughout the pandemic.
Cantrell’s office, the Department of Parks & Parkways, the Tupac Amur Shakur Foundation and other groups promoted a “peace pole,” with the mayor appearing for its opening ceremony June 15.
“This afternoon, the City through the Department of Parks & Parkways in collaboration with the Tupac Amur Shakur Foundation, Tulane University, & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra hosted a ribbon cutting of the newly installed Peace Pole to help foster peace in our communities,” Cantrell tweeted.
“The TASF sponsors several free services to the community surrounding mental health, physical health, and overall development,” Cantrell added.
Cantrell’s public unveiling of the pole in Louis Armstrong Park seemingly did little to “foster peace” as intended with her June 15 statement, as later that same afternoon, two people were injured in a shooting nearby.
On June 17, Cantrell unveiled a two-story Afro pick sculpture called “All Power to All People.” This temporary installation downtown was lauded by the mayor as “breathtaking.”
Fox News’ Raymond Arroyo shared on “The Ingraham Angle” that it is “breathtaking that someone could lose focus like this and spend so much money while crime is so out-of-hand.”
Cantrell announced a $7.2 million bond to public art in the City of New Orleans on June 17.
Meanwhile, New Orleans is on-track to be “murder capital of the US,” FOX8 Local First reported that same day.
In an exclusive interview with Laura Rodrigue of the Bayou Mama Bears, a local mothers’ advocacy group, she put Cantrell’s priorities on-blast.
“Art ranks last in terms of where money should be spent in New Orleans,” Rodrigue said. “People can’t even leave their homes to appreciate art without the fear of violent death.”
Homicides were up 155% during the week of June 21 from the same time in 2019, according to the Metropolitan Crime Commission’s weekly bulletin, which cited the City of New Orleans Calls for Service.
Year-to-date homicides were at 148, eight of which were during the week of June 14, the data showed.
Democratic City Councilman Eugene Green defended the mayor’s lack of pressers on homicides in New Orleans in an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital.
“I mean, that’s almost a murder a day,” he said. “It’s hard to make a statement every day.”
Carjackings were up 191% during the week of June 27 from the same time in 2019, per the Metropolitan Crime Commission’s weekly bulletin. Year-to-date carjackings in New Orleans under Cantrell is at 154.
As rising crime plagues New Orleans, an apparent bathroom in
cident involving Cantrell at rapper Rob49’s June 18 concert at the Fillmore has dogged the mayor recently. Footage from @ceedagreatt’s Instagram story appeared to show an altercation involving the mayor and at least two other unnamed women in front of a bathroom stall.
Cantrell’s new director of communications addressed the incident in a press release.
“Upon witnessing an altercation, the Mayor acted in a manner which she always implores our residents: if you see something, do something,” Gregory Joseph wrote.
At the same concert, more video taken appeared to show that Cantrell alluded to the bathroom altercation while appearing onstage with rapper Rob49 at the concert.
In the video, Mayor Cantrell can be seen leaning into the microphone while accepting an award, saying that while in the bathroom, she was “breaking up something.”
She purported to de-escalate a situation involving a teenage girl in the rap concert bathroom. The city has a juvenile curfew enacted by the NOPD for the summer.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital, New Orleans-native rapper Rob49 added that when he presented an award to Cantrell onstage, which his mother had commissioned especially for his concert, he didn’t know about the alleged bathroom altercation.
“Nah, I didn’t know. I didn’t know. But I’m happy she stepped in front of it, and, like, prevented further damages or whatever it was about to happen. Yeah, I didn’t know nothing about that, but that just shows you how she is.”
This would not be the first time Cantrell has been caught on-tape publicly in some form of dispute. Last fall, another video went viral of Cantrell standing over and shouting down a man in the Polo Club Lounge of the upscale Windsor Court Hotel.
Allegedly, the mayor’s behavior was in response to criticism of her inaction to call for mandatory evacuation ahead of Hurricane Ida’s landfall.
Cantrell held a press conference on June 21 that addressed questions regarding the bathroom viral video, but she did not have one in response to the shooting death of a 2-year-old toddler on June 22.
Neither the mayor’s communications department nor her Twitter account has made a statement to support the family or Hollygrove community involved in the shooting. Cantrell left for a taxpayer-funded trip to Ascona, Switzerland, in a “sister city initiative” on June 22.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital, Democratic New Orleans City Councilman Freddie King III said in response: “I would have done a press conference. Me personally, I would have done a press conference.”
This weekend’s Essence Festival will serve as a benchmark for post-COVID revelry in the city and could potentially backfire public safety-wise.
Fox News Digital reached out to her office for comment on the alleged bathroom brawl at the Fillmore and subsequent public statements. Joseph refused to characterize the incident as an altercation or that the press conference concerned the bathroom encounter.
“However, it’s not an altercation and there was no press conference. As you do [sic] the press conference or press briefing, about a dozen issues facing the city, and I believe there was one question about her breaking up the fight.
“There are more questions about the 187 million gallon water tank in City Park than there were about her breaking up the fight. So there was no press conference about, as you call, ‘the altercation,’ and there wasn’t actually an altercation at all. Public safety is the number one priority for this administration — it always has been, and it always will be.”
Cantrell has three years left in her final term as the chief executive of New Orleans.