Democrat New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell to Return $30K She Spent Using Taxpayer Dollars to Fly First-Class

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell speaks at a COVID-19 memorial service outside the gates
Erika Goldring/Getty Images

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D) confirmed that she would pay the city back after it was revealed she used taxpayer dollars to spend approximately $30,000 on multiple first-class flight upgrades.

The announcement comes after a city attorney investigation determined that the scandal-plagued Democrat mayor is a “city employee,” which requires her to abide by a policy that all New Orleans employees must seek the lowest airfare possible or reimburse the city for luxury accommodations.

Cantrell initially tried to justify her pricey travel expenses on separate trips to France, Switzerland, and various cities across the U.S. by claiming that it is not safe for black women to fly in economy, Breitbart News reported.

“Anyone who wants to question how I protect myself just doesn’t understand the world black women walk in,” Cantrell stated while defending her actions at a press conference on September 8.

However, following the findings of the investigation, Cantrell changed course and announced she planned to pay back the city for the expenses she incurred while flying in style.

“Based on the policy review, however, I will have to reimburse. So I’m moving forward to do that,” she stated on Tuesday via Fox 8.

Cantrell faced pressure from city council members to return her expenses after they threatened to dock her 2023 salary if she did not reimburse the city.

New Orleans chief administration officer Gilbert Montaño — who is second in charge in the mayor’s office — confirmed that he would enforce the policy to ensure Cantrell reimburses the city.

“I will fulfill my duties as the CAO, and it’s important that I follow through on all the rules and policies that I have to all other employees,” Montaño said, per WDSU.

Gilbert Montaño serves as the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the City of New Orleans.

Gilbert Montaño serves as the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the City of New Orleans.

Helena Moreno, the city’s council president, noted she was “glad” the city could move on from the scandal and focus on other issues such as “public safety and infrastructure.”

Cantrell’s travel expense scandal comes as she is also currently in hot water for using taxpayers’ dollars to live in a nearly $3,000 per month apartment in New Orleans’ historic Upper Pontalba neighborhood on Jackson Square, according to The apartment is noted to be three miles from her house, the Daily Mail reported.

A spokeswoman from the Mayor’s office defended her living in the apartment, saying it “is consistent with the usage of past mayors,” Fox News reported.

Cantrell’s New Orleans has also suffered from rising crime, as the city’s homicides increased by nearly 50 percent in 2021, Breitbart News noted.

“The Metro Crime Commission’s Weekly Orleans Crime Bulletin shows that as of June 5, 2022, homicides in New Orleans were up 46 percent over where they were in 2021 and 89 percent over where they were in 2020,” the report read.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.


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