Nov 9, 2023 - Politics

Cantrell outlines New Orleans strengths, challenges to Landry transition committee

Photo illustration of Louisiana Governor-elect Jeff Landry with lines radiating from him.

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Tom Wiliams/Getty Images

Jeff Landry may want to wait to speak with New Orleans officials, but Mayor LaToya Cantrell is still seeking to influence the behind-closed-doors conversations on the governor-elect's unprecedented New Orleans Council.

Driving the news: Cantrell released a 15-page document Thursday outlining her administration's views on the city's strengths, weaknesses and opportunities, which was sent to each committee member.

Why it matters: About 30 people are reported to be on the New Orleans-focused committee, but details on what's happening in its meetings remain scant.

Zoom in: Cantrell's document identifies 11 "priority industries," including tourism, energy, cultural touchstones like food and music, and bioinnovation.

  • Perhaps most to the point for Landry's committee, however, are the document's final two pages, which identify New Orleans' "challenges moving forward."
  • Among them: police retention, a one-time need of $10 million for the DNA Crime Lab, affordable housing, funding to address aging drainage infrastructure, the Orleans Parish Communications District responsible for answering 911 calls, and preparedness for hosting Superbowl 2025 and facing future extreme weather events.

Yes, but: It's unclear what the governor's committee has been tasked with focusing on.

What he's saying: Landry said Wednesday that he planned to wait until "I have a solution to the problems as we see it" to speak with city officials about his New Orleans priorities.

  • "It's probably a bit premature for us to visit with them yet," he said.

Between the lines: Landry often takes socially conservative stances at odds with the liberal city, leaving unclear how much the spotlight of his attention could leave New Orleans feeling the heat.

  • In August 2022, for example, Landry said he wanted to bring New Orleans leaders "to heel" as the Louisiana Bond Commission held hostage $39 million meant to fund Sewerage and Water Board improvements over city leaders' abortion stance.
  • And in an October 2022 appearance discussing New Orleans crime on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show, Landry said one benefit in Louisiana is "we have one of the most powerful executive departments in the country. … [The governor] has the ability to bend that city to his will."

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