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Cantrell, Landrieu(s) discuss New Orleans past, future at Loyola lecture

From+left+to+right%3A+Mayor-elect+LaToya+Cantrell%2C+Mayor+Mitch+Landrieu%2C+former+mayor+Sidney+Barthelemy%2C+former+mayor+Moon+Landrieu+and+moderator+Clancy+DuBos+in+Roussel+Hall+Thursday%2C+April+5%2C+2018%2C+for+the+annual+Ed+Renwick+Lecture+Series.+Photo+credit%3A+Nick+Reimann
From left to right: Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, former mayor Sidney Barthelemy, former mayor Moon Landrieu and moderator Clancy DuBos in Roussel Hall Thursday, April 5, 2018, for the annual Ed Renwick Lecture Series. Photo credit: Nick Reimann

From left to right: Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, former mayor Sidney Barthelemy, former mayor Moon Landrieu and moderator Clancy DuBos in Roussel Hall Thursday, April 5, 2018, for the annual Ed Renwick Lecture Series. Photo credit: Nick Reimann

From left to right: Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, former mayor Sidney Barthelemy, former mayor Moon Landrieu and moderator Clancy DuBos in Roussel Hall Thursday, April 5, 2018, for the annual Ed Renwick Lecture Series. Photo credit: Nick Reimann

Nick Reimann

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Though he had been told so before, Mitch Landrieu learned after he was elected mayor that it was true — you inherit all the potholes.

Landrieu shared that experience to Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell as mayors spanning over six decades of New Orleans history met in Roussel Hall for the annual Ed Renwick Lecture Series Thursday night, discussing highlights of the job and passing along experience to Cantrell as she prepares to take office next month.

Landrieu and Cantrell were joined by former mayors Sidney Barthelemy, who served from 1986-1994 and Mitch Landrieu’s father, Moon Landrieu, who was mayor from 1970 to 1978.

Most of the questions by moderator Clancy DuBos centered toward the current mayor and the two previous, followed by a look forward on the topic by Cantrell. On the issue of what to expect of the job, Mitch Landrieu laid out a simple yet blunt reality for his successor.

“I really think the job of being mayor of a major American city is just as tough and just as immediate as any other job [in politics],” he said.

The others agreed, with Moon Landrieu saying the job is a major step up from the City Council and Barthelemy saying it’s a job so difficult he thinks it rivals the stresses of the Oval Office.

While questions like that were how most of the evening went, both Landrieu and Cantrell were pushed on a question relating to current policy — how to fix the Sewerage and Water Board. The fact that even such a serious question was asked drew awes and whispers from the crowd.

Mitch Landrieu responded that failures happened, but that it’s a very complicated issue. He said the failures were a result of lack of revenue, which combined with machinery not up to date, led to the flooding incidents seen in the city recently.

Mitch Landrieu said his new appointments have strengthened the S&WB, though, putting it on the right track.

Cantrell said the S&WB needs to be inspected further, though, particularly on the financial side, where she said there needs to be a CFO for the organization.

Another major topic of the night — one all mayors contributed to — was the issue of race in New Orleans, with Moon Landrieu able to bring the issue all the way back to when he worked to integrate City Hall while he was mayor.

Mitch Landrieu said he’s seen some try to push back to a time before the work of his father after the removal of the Confederate monuments, saying he saw his support among whites drop directly because of the removal, and that it “scratched something deeper.”

Cantrell agreed, saying serious racial issues exist in New Orleans because there’s a lack of opportunity for black people in the city even though that’s over 60 percent of the population.

“We are not going to get better if the largest population in the city is at the bottom,” she said.

Someone who wasn’t able to share his thoughts on that issue, or any, was Marc Morial, mayor from 1994 to 2002. That’s because Tommy Screen, Loyola director of government and legal affairs, said he canceled after a last-minute change of plans.

DuBos couldn’t help but take a shot at Morial before starting the questions, joking “I too am sad former mayor Morial is not here tonight but I’m glad he’s consoling former mayor Nagin instead.”

Ray Nagin, mayor from 2002 to 2010, is currently serving a prison sentence for taking bribes while in office.

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About the Writer
Nick Reimann, Editorial Editor
Nick currently serves as Editorial Editor. In the past, Nick was Editor in Chief, Managing Editor of Electronic Properties, head of the Maroon Investigative Team, Worldview Editor and Copy Editor. When he isn’t covering local protests, you can find him talking politics, checking the weather and playing Words with Friends in his free time. Contact:...
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Cantrell, Landrieu(s) discuss New Orleans past, future at Loyola lecture