No Matter Who Wins The Election, New Orleans Will Soon Have Its First Female Mayor

"And it only took 300 years!"

Ater nearly 300 years, New Orleans will elect its first female mayor next month. The top two candidates to emerge from Saturday's voting — Democrats LaToya Cantrell and Desiree Charbonnet — will face off in a runoff November 18. The results are guaranteed to mark a major milestone in the city's long history.


According to HuffPost, Cantrell received 38 percent of Saturday's vote, while Charbonnet received 30 percent. The ballot included 18 candidates, with Michael Bagneris coming in third place at 19 percent. New Orleans uses a nonpartisan "jungle primary" system in which the top two candidates move on to another round of voting if no one receives 50 percent.

As several Twitter users pointed out in reaction to the news Saturday night, Cantrell and Charbonnet are both Black women, making for yet another exciting (if long overdue) milestone. As one user put it, "Some women have to shatter more than one glass ceiling."

New Orleans was founded in 1718, meaning next year will mark its 300th anniversary. All of the city's mayors have been men since 1803, when the first mayor Étienne de Boré was appointed. Ernest N. "Dutch" Morial was the city's first Black mayor, serving from 1978 to 1986. All mayors since 1872 have been Democrats.

Current mayor Mitch Landrieu has been serving since 2010 and has reached his two-term limit. Earlier this year, he was praised for a speech he made explaining the removal of Confederate monuments in the city.

LaToya Cantrell, who would reportedly be the city's first non-native mayor (she's originally from Los Angeles), is currently a city councilwoman, having represented District B since 2012. In 2015, she successfully led an effort to ban smoking in the city's bars, restaurants, and other public spaces. She supports a $15 minimum wage.

Her opponent Desiree Charbonnet was the first woman elected as a Municipal Court judge in New Orleans, with family roots in the city tracing back to the 1790s. Like Cantrell, the issue of crime in the city is a focus of her platform.

According to, both candidates made victory speeches at the same time. "We know that we are world class. We know that," Cantrell said. "But each and everyone of our residents needs to feel they're world class."

Charbonnet, meanwhile, said, "There are miles to go and work to do before we get there. We've got lots of fight left in us."

Regardless of who wins, she'll make history.


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