Major LaToya Cantrell Defends France trip spending

“I have a responsibility to grow our economy and culture.” Those were the words of Major LaToya Cantrell. Records obtained by WDSU show the major’s flight to do just that to and from France totaled nearly $18,000.”Why did you book a first-class flight to France for almost $18,000 and do you think that price is outrageous?” WDSU’s Kourtney Williams asked. She responded by saying, “No. In terms of the cost to fly relative to that particular trip that was the cost and that’s what we spent.”But the cost overall for the four-day trip totaled $45,000, but she says “Tens of thousands of dollars is inaccurate.”The major’s recent travel has brought a lot of criticism from the community.Hessler said, “It’s very discouraging and its very telling in that the major is willing to take that trip in such a time spend that money in such a time and willing to do it repeatedly until she’s forced not to do it.”The mayor is also in the hot seat because she recently went to court to support a juvenile who carjacked five women in two days — many say it sends the wrong message. One of those victims involved in the carjacking said, “To have sat on the attacker side counseling his mother counseling him it’s just like it makes you think what is going on it makes you feel real victimized it makes you think that she doesn’t support you because she’s the face of the city.”The major defended her actions saying the teen was in her pathways program, which is designed to help at-risk youth. But she says she is open to a program that allows her to get victims’ information to provide the level of support that all victims need because they matter. Madison Bergeron, the carjacking victim, sent us a statement after today’s news conference saying:”From surviving the carjacking, to the current life I now live because of it, then having to face my attacker in court, seeing her support him, putting myself and my feelings on the matter out there… not just locally but nationally… none of it is easy. It all comes from a place of hurt…. Her actions were louder than words in the court room and her words tonight supported those actions and proves where her priorities for not just the victims but the community as a whole lie.. .. Her so called justifications are not justifications, they are repeated slaps in the face.”

“I have a responsibility to grow our economy and culture.”

Those were the words of Major LaToya Cantrell. Records obtained by WDSU show the major’s flight to do just that to and from France totaled nearly $18,000.

“Why did you book a first-class flight to France for almost $18,000 and do you think that price is outrageous?” WDSU’s Kourtney Williams asked.

She responded by saying, “No. In terms of the cost to fly relative to that particular trip that was the cost and that’s what we spent.”

But the cost overall for the four-day trip totaled $45,000, but she says “Tens of thousands of dollars is inaccurate.”

The mayor’s recent travel has brought a lot of criticism from the community.

Hessler said, “It’s very discouraging and its very telling in that the mayor is willing to take that trip in such a time spend that money in such a time and willing to do it repeatedly until she’s forced not to do it.”

The mayor is also in the hot seat because she recently went to court to support a juvenile who carjacked five women in two days — many say it sends the wrong message.

One of those victims involved in the carjacking said, “To have sat on the attacker side counseling his mother counseling him it’s just like it makes you think what is going on it makes you feel real victimized it makes you think that she doesn’t support you because she’s the face of the city.”

The major defended her actions saying the teen was in her pathways program, which is designed to help at-risk youth. But she says she is open to a program that allows her to get victims’ information to provide the level of support that all victims need because they matter.

Madison Bergeron, the carjacking victim, sent us a statement after today’s news conference saying:

“From surviving the carjacking, to the current life I now live because of it, then having to face my attacker in court, seeing her support him, putting myself and my feelings on the matter out there… not just locally but nationally… none of it is easy. It all comes from a place of hurt…. Her actions were louder than words in the court room and her words tonight supported those actions and proves where her priorities for not just the victims but the community as a whole lie …. Her so called justifications are not justifications, they are repeated slaps in the face.”

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