Outgoing New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu didn't endorse a candidate to fill his shoes, but he did make one preference perfectly clear: He hoped that his successor would break what he considers an unproductive pattern of new mayors making their mark by embracing drastic change, even to programs that are working.
It's too soon to say which Landrieu initiatives Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell plans to undo. Cantrell offered her share of criticism of Landrieu's leadership during the campaign, most pointedly about his personal interactions, which she characterized as "divide and conquer." She also acknowledged he'd made City Hall more user-friendly, and at least hinted that she'd stay the course in areas such as contracting. With another four months to go before she takes office, Cantrell has yet to introduce her transition advisors, let along given them public marching orders.
With Saturday's primary election for mayor in the books, New Orleans has taken another big s…
Meanwhile, Landrieu's using the time to actively lobby for his legacy. This week he made a strong public pitch for the city to keep the NOLA For Life crime reduction strategy, which he touts as a success even if the threat of violent crime still dominates the news. The pitch came after Cantrell said she plans to analyze the program's efficiency and figure out whether the city is getting its $5 million a year's worth.
That's not really different from the position she took during the campaign, when she seemed more impressed with some aspects of the wide-ranging strategy than others. And it's not so different from how she talked about other city functions.
When she finally takes office, Cantrell's sure to bring a different tone to City Hall. Even after her time on the City Council, she's still a grassroot activists at heart, and she's replacing a seasoned politician who served for decades. Just how different her policies will be is a very different question.