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JP business leader says Cantrell set back economic recovery by weeks, months

“This surprise announcement … likely set back our recovery in several critical sectors by weeks if not months,” Murphy wrote

NEW ORLEANS —

Jefferson Chamber President Todd Murphy sharply criticized New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell in a letter he sent late last week.

He wrote it after Cantrell said she doesn’t support any festivals happening in New Orleans the rest of this year as the fight to flatten the curve continues.

“My recommendation is absolutely no large events such as French Quarter Fest or Jazz Fest -- even Essence Festival -- as it relates to the year of 2020, that the focus should shift to 2021,” Cantrell said April 14.

“This surprise announcement … likely set back our recovery in several critical sectors by weeks if not months,” Murphy wrote.

“She came out and canceled -- basically canceled -- the economy for New Orleans for the rest of the year,” Murphy said Monday.

He said he wants the mayor to have a more open dialogue with other parishes and agencies in the metro New Orleans area before making statements like that.

“I’ve heard the adage my entire life, ‘so goes New Orleans, so goes the region,’” Murphy said “But New Orleans doesn’t come back without the region and it works both ways.”

Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Louisiana, with 6,148 in Orleans Parish and 5,761 in Jefferson Parish on Monday.

Those numbers have begun to slow, and Cantrell says she doesn’t want to undo the progress that’s being made by going back to life as we knew it too soon.

“We cannot fall into any false narratives when it comes to the public health of our citizens,” she said during an afternoon press briefing. “And there is no economy without public health. Hand in hand. And that will be our approach and we’ve been consistent in that regard.”

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