Emily Arata, a longtime aide to Mayor Mitch Landrieu who oversaw the city’s communications and lobbying efforts, is leaving the administration to join Ochsner Health Systems.
Arata, who has worked with Landrieu since he was lieutenant governor, will be taking over as director of economic development initiatives and community relations for the hospital company. Her last day with the city is Tuesday.
“For over 10 years, Emily has been a trusted adviser,” Landrieu said in a news release. “My administration has accomplished big things that would not have been possible without the strong communications and governmental affairs strategies that Emily and her team put together.”
As deputy mayor, Arata has run the city’s communications offices as well as intergovernmental affairs and constituent services.
She also has been the mayor’s designated liaison to Louis Armstrong International Airport, and her departure comes just after the New Orleans Aviation Board signed a contract for the construction of the new North Terminal. The Mayor’s Office has made it a priority to cut the ribbon on that project during the city’s tricentennial in 2018.
“Emily was instrumental in working with the airport leadership on my behalf to make this transformational project happen,” Landrieu said.
Arata has a long history with Landrieu and his family. She worked for former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, the mayor’s sister, before becoming a partner at a New Orleans public relations firm. From there, she joined Mitch Landrieu’s staff in the Lieutenant Governor’s Office in 2005, eventually becoming his deputy chief of staff.
She also ran the campaigns for Landrieu’s re-election in the 2008 lieutenant governor’s race and 2010 mayoral race.
“I am truly blessed to have served our community at such a historic time alongside such incredible people,” Arata said. “It has been an honor to have played a small part in so many big wins for the city.”
Arata is the wife of Michael Arata, a New Orleans lawyer who was convicted in April of teaming with a Hollywood producer to defraud the state’s film tax credit program of more than $1 million. Last month, 12 of the 13 counts on which he was convicted were reversed by a federal judge, but he remains convicted of conspiracy.
Brooke Smith, Landrieu’s chief of staff, will take over Arata’s duties until a replacement is named.
Follow Jeff Adelson on Twitter, @jadelson.