NEW ORLEANS — A day after protesters marched against moving City Hall to the Municipal Auditorium, Mayor LaToya Cantrell backed away from the idea, saying she’s open to other options.
In a statement sent out Friday, the mayor said that the City needs to have a plan and set aside funding to rehabilitate the auditorium in order to meet a federal deadline for funding. However, that doesn’t mean the Municipal Auditorium needs to become the new City Hall.
“We are open to other options for the relocation of City Hall and for renovation of the Municipal Auditorium,” Cantrell said. “But they have to be viable options – just saying ‘no’ or opposing what has been proposed simply isn’t good enough.”
Cantrell proposed forming a community group to make a recommendation about the future of both buildings. If formed, that group would review the options in 2022 and make a recommendation to her administration.
The change from the mayor’s office comes after several protests against moving City Hall to the Municipal Auditorium over the past couple weeks, including a march Thursday night.
Protesters argue that moving City Hall to the Municipal Auditorium would do more harm to the culture of the Treme neighborhood.
The Cantrell administration argues that moving City Hall to the long abandoned space would solve two problems by using $38 million in FEMA money set aside to repair the Municipal Auditorium to also upgrade an aging New Orleans City Hall.