Posted on March 1, 2023

Amid a Crime Spike and Complaints of Uncollected Trash, New Orleans Mayor Faces a Possible Recall Election

Daniella Silva, NBC News, February 28, 2023

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell faces a possible recall election as violent crime spikes, uncollected trash overflows into the streets and she contends with allegations she had an affair with a member of her security detail.

The first Black woman to be elected mayor in 2018, Cantrell easily won re-election in 2021. But her popularity has waned as the number of murders has climbed, allowing New Orleans to capture a title last year that no municipality wants — the murder capital of the nation.

Her second term has also been plagued by questions about her personal use of a city-owned apartment in the French Quarter and her relationship with a member of her security detail.

Organizers of an effort to recall Cantrell delivered nearly a dozen boxes of signed petitions to the registrar of voters’ office last week, just ahead of a deadline to seek a recall election. Organizers said they gathered enough signatures to force a recall vote.

“We’re talking about our lights, our trash, our streets, our crime, our children,” said Eileen Carter, one of the organizers spearheading the effort.

With a population of 377,000 that is 58% Black, New Orleans had the highest number of murders per capita in the country in the first half of last year, after falling off dramatically in 2019, according to NBC affiliate WDSU of New Orleans.

Homicides in New Orleans had increased about 144% through mid-September in 2022, compared with the first nine months of 2019, according to data from the Metropolitan Crime Commission, a public safety nonprofit. By the end of the year, a total of 265 homicides had been committed in the city, according to official numbers.

“In 2022, we were the nation’s murder capital, how does that happen?” Carter asked.


Cantrell, who is married, is also contending with allegations that she had a relationship with a subordinate. The accusation was contained in a divorce filing made by the wife of New Orleans police officer Jeffrey Vappie, who is a member of Cantrell’s security detail. In the petition, Vappie’s wife claimed her husband was having an affair with Cantrell, according to the news outlet

Vappie said through his attorneys last month that he never admitted to his wife that he and the mayor were in a relationship, according to {snip}

Cantrell has also faced calls for an investigation over her use of a city-owned apartment, with detractors saying she’s using it for her personal benefit while it’s meant for city business only. {snip}

Recall organizers have not said how many signatures they have collected, but they claim to have reached the threshold to force an election. {snip}


In a 2022 quality of life survey for Orleans and Jefferson parishes conducted by the University of New Orleans, 31% of city residents said they approved of the job Cantrell was doing, while 62% said they were unhappy with her performance.

The survey found that crime had “a profound effect on the overall quality of life in Orleans” and that residents were “very dissatisfied with the quality of life in the city and say the city has become a worse place to live in the past five years.”