New Orleans Democratic Mayor Latoya Cantrell responded to a question Thursday by saying she will not reimburse the city for flying first class to France and Switzerland because coach seating is not safe for a Black woman.
Cantrell also said she has a child, and that precludes her from flying coach.
At a Thursday news conference, Cantrell was asked if she will reimburse the city for $30,000 spent to fly with the luxury upgrades. She snapped back that her travel choices were concerning safety rather than luxury.
Then she said that, as a mother, she is going to protect herself “by any reasonable means.” Anyone with an issue with that, Cantrell added, “doesn’t understand the world Black women walk in.”
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell says she does not plan to pay the city back for first-class travel upgrades on overseas flights, despite policies put in place by the city council. https://t.co/ocobSMCJFw pic.twitter.com/82qx7fhVgc
— FOX 8 New Orleans (@FOX8NOLA) September 9, 2022
The New Orleans City Council decided last month to limit travel expenses and has a long-standing policy directing city employees to pay out-of-pocket for upgrades from coach.
The policy states that employees are required to purchase the lowest cost airfare available, and any who chose an upgrade “are solely responsible for the difference in cost.”
This is apparently of no consequence to Cantrell, who argued that because she is leading a “$1.4 billion organization,” her travel expenses are “pennies on the dollar.”
A lot of pennies.
In July, Cantrell flew from Washington to Switzerland on a $10,000 ticket that included her own flatbed seat. Then, just a month later, she spent $18,000 on airfare to a Mediterranean city on the southern coast of France for the signing of a partnership agreement that was largely symbolic.
Her entourage, including the security assigned to protect her, flew coach.
Cantrell also defended the extra expense to city taxpayers by doing business for the municipality. The Chief Administrative Officer for New Orleans said the city is still examining if the mayor must reimburse the almost $30,000 in upgrades.
She said no. Cantrell retorted that “all expenses incurred doing business on behalf of the city of New Orleans will not be reimbursed to the city of New Orleans.”