New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is refusing to pay the city back the tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars she spent upgrading to first-class flights, saying she needed the pricey high-class tickets to ensure her safety as a black woman.
According to the New York Post, Cantrell, a Democrat, forked over $30k in tax bucks to upgrade a number of airline tickets to business or first class, including spending $18,000 on a first-class ticket to Paris. The move allegedly runs afoul of a local law mandating that city employees buy the cheapest ticket they can find for their business travel, or pay the difference out of their own pocket.
The Post adds that “On one occasion, Cantrell’s flights cost nine times that of an aide who accompanied her but flew in coach.”
Huh. Must’ve been a white dude, then.
But Cantrell’s office says the mayor has no plans to reimburse the city, claiming she needed to fly first-class because doing otherwise as a black woman would have left her unsafe.
All expenses incurred doing business on behalf of the city of New Orleans will not be reimbursed to the city of New Orleans,” she said, according to WWL.
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“One thing is clear: I do my job, and I will continue to do it with distinction and integrity every step of the way. That’s what I have to say on that,” she added.
The New York Posts added that back in August, Cantrell slammed critics of her airline upgrades as idiots who “[don’t] understand the world Black women walk in.”
“As all women know, our health and safety are often disregarded and we are left to navigate alone,” she told the Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate in August.
“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,” Cantrell continued. “Anyone who wants to question how I protect myself just doesn’t understand the world Black women walk in.”
The wise use of taxpayer dollars has never appeared to be Cantrell’s strong suit. As her city struggles under historic crime and a massive uptick in violence, local officials – including Cantrell – showered millions on “art” honoring black creators to celebrate Juneteenth, including a giant afro pick erected in Lafayette Square.
No wonder more than half the voters in her city support her recall.