Sep 19, 2023 - Politics

New Orleans mayor heads to Paris — again

Photo shows French president Emmanuel Macron and New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell

French President Emmanuel Macron walks alongside Mayor Cantrell through the French Quarter on Dec. 2, 2022. Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is in France this week to represent the city at a jazz music festival and meet with dignitaries.

Why it matters: Cantrell's international travel in the past has sparked criticism that eventually led to her repaying the city nearly $29,000 for expenses on travel upgrades like first-class airfare to Europe.

  • It is at least her fourth international work trip in the past year or so. In May, she went to a climate conference in South Korea. Last year, she went to France and Switzerland.

Driving the news: Cantrell arrived in Orléans, France, on Tuesday to meet with her counterpart there and renew a sister city agreement.

  • The mayor will "share and exchange dialogue on each city's climate adaptation efforts, including water conservation," according to a statement from the city.

On Friday, she'll head to Paris for what's being called the New Orleans Jazz Festival: a "cultural exchange of New Orleans' music and cuisine."

  • The New Orleans Jazz Museum is sending three bandleaders for the festival, and Dakar NOLA chef Serigne Mbaye will showcase his food.

Zoom out: In December, French President Emmanuel Macron visited New Orleans to launch a new partnership to promote the French language.

  • While in Paris, Cantrell plans to meet with the secretary-general of the International Organization of la Francophonie to discuss ways to "further promote and expand the use of the French language throughout New Orleans," the city said.

By the numbers: A city spokesperson on Tuesday declined to say how many people went with Cantrell or release any details about expenses, such as airfare.

  • "This information is never readily available, at least not until they return," spokesperson John Lawson told Axios New Orleans, directing reporters to request a public records request through the legal department.
  • Cantrell will return to New Orleans on Sunday, officials said.
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