Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell continued her transition to New Orleans’ highest office, announcing the members of a transition advisory team Wednesday (Jan. 10) but gave no indication of when she would make key appointments, including police chief and the new leader of the Sewerage & Water Board.
The most notable news to come out of Wednesday’s event at Xavier University was the announcement of members of Cantrell’s transition advisory committee, led by co-chairs Kathleen Kennedy, dean of Xavier’s College of Pharmacy, and Matt Wisdom, CEO of the New Orleans-based digital media company TurboSquid.
Honorary chairs of the transition: retired Xavier president Norman Francis; Gayle Benson, wife of Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson; and Walter Isaacson, head of the Aspen Institute and former editor of Time magazine.
Wednesday’s announcement comes about two months after Cantrell, a sitting City Council member, was elected mayor. She said her transition team’s office was set up last week on Xavier’s campus. Cantrell described the committee as “focused on place and people.”
“That’s what our transition team will be about, but more importantly, that’s what the Cantrell administration will be about,” Cantrell said. She repeatedly used a phrase she repeated frequently during the campaign, saying that she will be a “bottom-up” leader.
“I think you can see today they are not necessarily your usual suspects, there are probably some people here that you guys don’t know much about,” Carvin said. “I think she’s looking to have a very wide tent.”
Asked how the bottom-up charge applies to the committee’s interaction with the public, Carvin said, “that will be released with the transition plan.”
Until Wednesday, there had been few indications about where the transition team was headed: A staffer from Cantrell’s City Council office, John Pourciau, had been the only public appointment to lead the transition team, and last week, Cantrell named the title of the team: Forward Together New Orleans.