Cantrell to JP Chamber, business leaders: Come talk to me, don't go through media

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell today said the stay at home order she extended through May 16 is based on data, not dates on a calendar. And she said if the Jefferson Parish Chamber of Commerce or members of the regional business community want to discuss that, they can reach out to her office instead of taking out full page newspaper ads.

"A way to communicate is not through the media, it's directly, and I welcome that," said Cantrell during a news conference this afternoon. "I know that I'm more than accessible and more than a team player as it relates to my partners, and that means thinking regionally."

The mayor made it clear that the she feels she must put people's health and lives ahead of economic concerns.

Cantrell said, "It is not driven by a dollar, it is driven by the public health of this community."

She explained that various efforts underway to influence her position will not be successful.

"You can be reassured that I will not be bullied in making decisions that are in the best interest of the citizens of the city of New Orleans," the mayor said.

Cantrell also said that she is open to collaborate with neighboring parish presidents, the governor and others.

"Working with leadership that has real authority is my priority."

Four area businessmen placed the ad that calls for Cantrell to reopen the city May 1. The Jefferson Chamber said that Cantrell should have talked to regional leaders before announcing her opinion that no festivals or large events should take place in the city until 2021 at the earliest.

"It would be staggeringly irresponsible to set an arbitrary date to pretend we can flick a little switch and bring businesses back immediately," said Cantrell. "We're going to be guided by data and not a date."