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New Orleans Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell‘s work in city government and service as a neighborhood organizer was honored this week by a group of university presidents who announced she was their pick for a lifetime achievement award.
The presidents of the University of New Orleans and Tulane, Loyola, Xavier universities announced the award in conjunction with the annual Martin Luther King Week for Peace, which features lectures, performances and culminates in a day of community service.
“LaToya has served the New Orleans Community for over 10 years,” said Carolyn R. Barber-Pierre, Tulane’s assistant vice-president of student affairs and chairwoman of the committee in charge of nominating candidates to the university presidents. “She has really pledged her life to public service. I think that’s what caught the eye of the presidents.”
Since 1992, presidents of the university consortium have been presenting the honor, formally known as the Norman C. Francis-Martin Luther King Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award, to “an outstanding community servant who has exemplified the character, dedication and goals of Dr. Martin Luther King,” according to a news release.
A graduate of Xavier University, Cantrell helped lead the Broadmoor neighborhood’s fight to be allowed to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. Some had suggested turning the low-lying community into green space.