Nov. 19 (UPI) — LaToya Cantrell was elected New Orleans’ first-ever female mayor in Saturday’s election, capturing 60 percent of the vote.
The Louisiana Secretary of State’s office said city Councilwoman Cantrell, 45, handily defeated former municipal court Judge Desiree Charbonnet in Saturday’s vote to become the first woman to win the New Orleans mayor’s office.
“We deserve better and together we truly will be better,” the mayor-elect told supporters 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 the city of New Orleans.”
Cantrell will take over from Mayor Mitch Landrieu in May, when the city will mark its 300th anniversary.
“Congratulations to our very own District ‘B’ Councilmember LaToya Cantrell, our city’s first elected female mayor!” the New Orleans City Council tweeted.
Cantrell, a Los Angeles native, moved to New Orleans in 1990 to attend Xavier University of Louisiana. She became a prominent activist in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, organizing protests and coordinating rebuilding efforts as the president of the Broadmoor Improvement Association.
She was elected to the city council in 2012 and won reelection in 2014.
Saturday’s runoff election between Cantrell and Charbonnet came after they received the most votes in October’s general election.
Cantrell is the first non-native New Orleans resident to be elected mayor since Chicago-born Victor Schiro in 1961.
“Whether or not you were born here, whether or not you chose to be here — the bottom line is, we are here,” Cantrell said Saturday night. “And because we are here, we are going to make sure that we continue the hard work and that we focus on every aspect of our city.”