Mayor LaToya Cantrell, through her Office of Youth & Families (OYF), held the first-ever “Ladies Power Hour” Wednesday (July 31) for an evening of female empowerment, networking and entertainment.

The event served as the kickoff for Mayor Cantrell’s #HerNOLA initiative, says OYF Director Emily Wolff.

“#Hernola is about creating a future where there are no glass ceilings and where girls have access to mentors who can help them to lead with confidence, steadfastness and resolve,” Wolff says. “We plan to build on this success to create more opportunities like this, but this is an incredibly encouraging start for everyone.”

Young women, including many who had submitted entries in the Mayor for a Day contest, participated in “Mentor Match” activities with female professionals throughout New Orleans, including elected officials as well as women who are leading in the fields of healthcare, law, arts/entertainment, public safety, education/nonprofits and business/tech. 

“It’s an honor to serve as this city’s first female mayor, but what gives me the most satisfaction is knowing that I will not be the last,” says Mayor Cantrell. “What I always tell young people is that we will always have challenges, but it is how we face and overcome those challenges that make us who we are. Over 120 young women submitted beautifully and intentionally written essays, and the hardest thing was to narrow it down to three finalists. This event is about embracing all of the young women who submitted essays, and connecting them with mentors from all around the City of New Orleans.” 

District E City Councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen, several local judges and community leaders were among those in attendance.

Entertainment was provided by Joel Dyson, Caren Green, DJ Jess, and the Pinettes Brass Band. Mayor for a Day contest winners Morgan Turner, Samarah Bentley and Ella Aluise joined Mayor Cantrell.

Also present were several organizations that offer girls-specific programs and services in New Orleans, including the New Orleans Recreation Development (NORD) Commission, the New Orleans Public Library, QUEENS organization, Girls on the Run, Geaux Girl magazine, Beautiful Foundation, Project Butterfly and Electric Girls. 

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