Desiree Charbonnet, who resigned her post as a municipal court judge to run for mayor, says she was driven by a desire to serve and give back to the community.
“When I sat on the bench for the last nine and half years, I saw the same things over and over,” says Charbonnet. “I saw young Black males being arrested and they all had two things in common: clearly they had a lack of a good educational foundation and they did not see any opportunities in their future; nothing on the horizon. I saw that in so many types of cases. I thought after a while that I could do so much better for this community. I started a lot of diversion programs that were successful and that really showed me that when you get down to the work of helping those who really need it most, you can really make some significant changes. But you could only do so much from the bench. I do want to emphasize that I committed myself to this by giving up my job. I love this city. I love its people and I want to offer myself as fully as possible.”
Crime, economic development, and affordable housing top Charbonnet’s list of challenges facing New Orleans. She describes her crime platform as ambitious, but realistic. In it, she calls for immediate steps that include conducting a national search for a police superintendent, increasing the size of NOPD to over 1,500 officers over the next five years and making NOPD more effective by focusing on recruitment, reorganization, redeployment of desk-assigned officers, retention and response time. Charbonnet also supports the implementation of a broad and aggressive community policing program as well as a youth jobs program to help provide young people with an alternative to crime, along with the expansion of mentoring programs. This and more can be accomplished, the candidate says, without any new taxes. Instead, she plans to push for the renewal and rededication of existing millages that are set to expire to help fund these efforts.
Charbonnet has also released a detailed affordable housing plan that includes helping seniors secure property tax freezes, encouraging the city’s major employers to offer programs to help their workers rent apartments or purchase homes near their jobs and improving housing policies and programs that help “preserve and protect established residential neighborhoods, including additional restrictions on short-term rentals.”
Charbonnet says, “Everyone who lives and works in New Orleans should be able to live in a safe, healthy, affordable neighborhood, near public transit lines, good schools, health care facilities, daycare for their children, and grocery store.”