A mailer is raising eyebrows in the New Orleans mayoral election for what appears to be a racially tinged attack against City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell.
The booklet’s first page, titled “Meet the Cantrells,” features a picture of the candidate with an angry expression on her face and the caption “Straight Outta Compton,” the title of the late-1980s gangsta rap album by N.W.A.
With the flyers targeting white areas of the city — they were first spotted on cars outside a Lakeview Civic Improvement Association forum over this weekend — the intent appears to be to conjure up stereotypes of the southern California city while also painting Cantrell, who is from California, as an outsider.
“I think it speaks for itself. I don’t think you have to have a Ph.D. to understand,” Cantrell consultant Karen Carvin Shachat said when asked about the flyers. “They knew exactly what they were trying to do. It’s just desperate, ugly, dirty, old-fashioned slash and burn politics.”
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The flyers were paid for by the Truth in Government Political Action Committee, which has been aligned with Cantrell's runoff opponent, Desiree Charbonnet. Previously, the group went after Leslie Jacobs, the charter school advocate who funded another PAC — Not For Sale NOLA — to attack Charbonnet.
Shachat said the Cantrell campaign plans to remain focused on the issues through the final days of the campaign.
“We’ve tried to keep it about the issues and unfortunately (Charbonnet’s) campaign is about trying to destroy LaToya Cantrell professionally and personally,” Shachat said.