Posted on September 13, 2022

New Orleans Mayor Says Flying Economy Unsafe for Black Women Refuses to Repay $30K of Taxpayer Cash

James Gordon, Daily Mail, September 11, 2022

New Orleans Democrat mayor has declared economy class flights unsafe for black women, while insisting she wont repay $30,000 of taxpayers’ money blown on first-class flights to France and Switzerland.

Speaking at a press conference Thursday, LaToya Cantrell said: ‘My travel accommodations are a matter of safety, not of luxury.

‘As all women know, our health and safety are often disregarded and we are left to navigate alone.

‘As the mother of a young child whom I live for, I am going to protect myself by any reasonable means in order to ensure I am there to see her grow into the strong woman I am raising her to be.

‘Anyone who wants to question how I protect myself just doesn’t understand the world black women walk in.’

She has repeatedly refused to repay the cost of a luxury American Airlines flight from Washington Dulles Airport to Switzerland for herself in July, despite a city ban on luxury air travel.

Cantrell spent around $10,000 on her own flat bed seat and blew a similar amount on a first-class return to France earlier this year – while her aides traveled in coach.

Cantrell has defended her purchase of the luxury tickets as her both ‘doing business’ on behalf of the city and because she believes it wouldn’t be safe for her to travel in economy class.

While the mayor sat in first-class, her team, including her security detail, were seated in coach.

The Chief Administrative Officer has revealed how the law department is still examining whether Cantrell must reimburse almost $30,000 in taxpayer money for first-class tickets to France and Switzerland.

The mayor had an extremely prickly response when questioned by journalists on Thursday as to whether she was considering forking out to replenish city coffers.

‘All expenses incurred doing business on behalf of the city of New Orleans will not be reimbursed to the city of New Orleans,’ Mayor Cantrell said speaking outside the Nix Library.

‘One thing is clear; I do my job and I will continue to do it with distinction and integrity every step of the way. And so, that’s what I have to say on that!’

The mayor insists that the trips and luxury travel expenses were necessary in order to better New Orleans itself.

But the city’s travel policy leaves little room for maneuver: ‘Employees are required to purchase the lowest airfare available…Employees who choose an upgrade from coach, economy, or business class flights are solely responsible for the difference in cost.’

The policy also states: ‘Any reconciliation of travel expenses that results in overpayment by the City requires that the employee reimburse the City within twenty business days’

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In January, the mayor spent more than $2,300 to fly first-class to a Conference of Mayors’ meeting in Washington, DC. The rest of her entourage paid $250.

Then in March, the mayor spent more than $2,800 to fly first-class to Miami for a U.S. Conference of Mayors gathering. The cost is nine times more than the $342 fare NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson pair.

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Come the summer, two pricey jaunts to Europe saw Mayor Cantrell and three of her top aides spend more than $40,000 on travel to France, which she defended by drawing on the city’s heritage.

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