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'B' Prepared

A User's Guide to the City Council District B Race

The District B City Council Seat, which represents parts of Uptown, Central City and the CBD is one of two up for grabs in the coming election. Stacy Head vacated the seat in March when she was elected to represent the entire city as a councillor at-large. The race has four candidates—Latoya Cantrell, Marlon “10th Ward Buck” Horton, Eric Strachan, and Dana Kaplan—with heavy funding funneling into three of the four campaigns.


The Back-Story

 Stacy Head was elected to the District B seat in 2006 and then once again in 2010. Then earlier this year, Head won a hard fought victory over Cynthia Willard-Lewis for the Council-at-Large seat  vacated by Arnie Fielkow, who resigned in October, 2011, to head to the NBA. Diana Bajoie, a former Louisiana Senator, took over as the interim District B chair, and the next term was put on the November 6 ballot.


The Candidates


A leader in the Broadmoor section of the District, Latoya Cantrell got a lot of unintended press recently after her husband dropped a joint in front of officers while in a city courtroom. Still, inadvertent attention-grabbing headline aside, Cantrell has picked up endorsements from City Councilwomen Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, Kristin Gisleson Palmer and state Senators J.P. Morrell and Edwin Murray, among others. She was the President of the Broadmoor Neighborhood Association as it was fighting for survival in the wake of the Federal Flood, and chaired the Charter Schools Board for that same neighborhood.


READ: NOLA Defender's District E Primer

Cantrell cites the recovery—particularly the Broad Street Corridor and the cultural aspects therein— under her accomplishments. She also says that her contact with non-profits and other private sector entities, along with being familiar with the political waters of New Orleans, makes her ready to serve. However, if one were to visit “,” you would be greeted with a chance to volunteer your time, grab yourself a nifty little yard sign—always important for the drivers on your block to see who you support—and the ever present Paypal donation widget. But if you follow the page to any of the other subpages on the site, not much is said about her plans for the future, if at all. But, to be fair, she has like four times as many Facebook likes as Strachan.


READ: Republicans Square Off for Cajun Country Seat in Congress

Eric Strachan worked with Head as Chief of Staff and was a staffer under Councillor-at-Large Jackie Clarkson before that. He was also an interim for District B for a time (very briefly), and has been on the St. Charles Ave Association. Though he has been in the game for a while, this is his first serious run for office in New Orleans. Strachan is adamant about his local roots and currently lives in the Irish Channel. He is easily one of the big money players in the race. Strachan has raised more than $70,000 for his campaign, and has been given some notable endorsements, including the Alliance for Good Government, former Council members Susie Terrell, John Hainkel III and Errol George. But that seems to be the source of his campaign in general: politicians and political groups (like the Greater New Orleans Republicans and Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee) and a large base in Uptown.


Strachan says on his webpage that he’s been into politics since his early teens, and makes broad comments about public safety, job creation, and the future of New Orleans. Also, how to pronounce his name properly:


“And a quick note, Eric’s last name “Strachan” is pronounced “Strawn” (rhymes with brawn).”


Strachan also mentions that he has been, “at the table,” when tough decisions were made.


Marlon Horton—who many more voters may know as “10th Ward Buck” of New Orleans Bounce music—is running a frugal grass-roots campaign. Inspired to run for office after meetings with (and his resulting disgust for) the City Council, Horton has pledged to use the seat to build a sense of community between the neighborhoods of the diverse district, but has only about $1,000 to his campaign, according to the reports, to get the word out.


Dana Kaplan, a New York transplant, has been working with the city for some time and made her way as director of  the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana. Before that, Kaplan’s work assisted in the creation of the Office of the Independent Police Monitor, which acted as an independent check to the NOPD before there was a consent decree. Kaplan says her experience as an advocate in the areas of public policy and criminal justice make her the choice for District B, which marks crime-reduction as one of the top items in the coming term. Kaplan is receiving a large amount of support from workers and workers unions—garnering endorsements from the local chapters of the AFL-CIO, the Teamsters and SEIU. Her campaign got a serious jolt last week when she was endorsed en masse by Mayor Mitch, Congressman Cedric Richmond, and a host of other state and local pols. She is currently the only candidate nipping at Strachan’s heels as far as fundraising goes, which is an important factor if this race runs into a runoff.


The District B primary is on the Nov. 6 election ballot, with early voting for this election ending on Oct. 30.

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