NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell took questions from reporters Tuesday on several major issues affecting the city this year.
She answered questions on violent crime, flooding, the abandoned Navy base that has been a hot spot for crime in the Bywater, and more.
See the full press conference above and some of her answers in brief below.
Mayor Cantrell acknowledged that violent crime is a major problem in New Orleans and said that it is a top priority for her.
The mayor said she refuses to blame New Orleans police for the recent spike in violent crime, saying that the City needs to take a holistic approach to stopping the violence on our streets.
That includes prevention and intervention, what the mayor called "treating the root causes."
She also re-affirmed her support of the New Orleans Police Department and Chief Shaun Ferguson, outlining her plans to recruit and retain more NOPD officers to rebuild the police force.
The mayor said that she expects development to start at the former Navy base in the Bywater sometime this year, but until then the developer needs to have "the property secured 24/7."
"We're going to ensure that we hold the developer's feet to the fire," Cantrell said. "I'm expecting some change there."
Lakeview Drainage Project
Mayor Cantrell advocated for a drainage project for Lakeview that's been unpopular with other leaders in the area, but she says can be essential to protecting the neighborhood from flooding.
According to the mayor, the project would use City Park's lagoons to hold up to 187 million gallons of water to protect residents in case of a flood event in Lakeview.
"This is the right thing to do," Cantrell said. "I will not turn that money back. I will pivot and allocate those dollars to other (flood mitigation) projects in our city."
Katrina Recovery Funds
Louisiana leaders are pushing for a deadline extension for the more-than $1 billion in unspent money given to New Orleans to improve infrastructure after Hurricane Katrina.
Mayor Cantrell said the City has spent about half of the money so far, mostly under her administration. She said she's eliminated some of the bottle necks that were severely delaying those projects before.