Jason Cantrell, the husband of New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, has died, the city announced in a Monday morning news release.
“It is with great sadness and heartache that we announce the passing of First Gentleman Jason Cantrell,” New Orleans Director of Communications Gregory Joseph said in a statement.
“He was a devoted husband and father, as well as a dedicated public servant who valiantly served the residents of this city not only alongside Mayor Cantrell but also as an experienced family, civil and criminal attorney,” the statement continued. “First Gentleman Cantrell will forever be missed and cherished by his beloved family, the legal community and the entire City of New Orleans. May he rest in God’s eternal peace.”
“Our love and prayers remain with Mayor Cantrell, their daughter RayAnn and the entire Cantrell family. We ask that you please respect their privacy during this challenging time,” Joseph added.
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New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell speaks onstage at ESSENCE event on July 3, 2023, in New Orleans, Louisiana. City Hall said her husband has died. (Erika Goldring/Getty Images for ESSENCE)
Details, including the time and cause of his death, were not included in the announcement from City Hall.
Jason Cantrell was an attorney and the son of former New Orleans Criminal District Court Magistrate Judge Harry Cantrell.
“New Orleans suffered a tremendous loss with the passing of Jason Cantrell,” New Orleans Council President JP Morrell said in a statement. “I’ve known Jason for almost 20 years, dating back to our time in the Orleans Indigent Defender Program (the predecessor to the Orleans Public Defenders).”
“Jason was a coworker and a mentor, who was passionate about serving the underrepresented in our criminal justice system. Jason worked tirelessly with the rest of the OIDP team to represent the vulnerable in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, before the lights were back on and the water receded,” he added, sending condolences to his wife and mayor, their daughter and his father. “He was an exceptional attorney and father, whom we will all miss.”
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French President Emmanuel Macron walks wiht New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell through the historic French Quarter in Louisiana on Dec. 2, 2022. (LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)
New Orleans Police Department Interim Superintendent Michelle Woodfork also issued a statement.
“On behalf of the men and women of the New Orleans Police Department, I offer my deepest and sincerest condolences to Mayor Cantrell, her daughter RayAnn, and the entire Cantrell family,” Woodfork wrote, commemorating Jason Cantrell’s service as a public defender and in the city attorney’s office.
“We are all saddened and shocked by the loss of Jason Cantrell,” Council Vice President Helena Moreno said in a prepared statement, according to NOLA.com. “The Cantrell family has lost a father, a son, and spouse and I encourage all New Orleanians to lift the Mayor and her family up in prayer during this tragic and difficult time.”
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, Mayor of Clevaland Justin Bibb, Mayor of New Orleans LaToya Cantrell, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Al Sharpton and Marc H. Morial appear onstage during the 2023 ESSENCE Festival Of Culture on July 2, 2023, in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Erika Goldring/Getty Images FOR ESSENCE)
“It is sad to lose someone so young and who dedicated himself to his profession, his family, and his City,” Council Member Joe Giarrusso said. “Jason’s entire family will be in our prayers. May his memory be a blessing.”
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Gayle Benson, the owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans, also shared a statement on the team’s X account.
“On behalf of the entire New Orleans Saints and Pelicans organizations, we are saddened to learn of the passing of Jason Cantrell. Our prayers and condolences are with Mayor LaToya Cantrell and her family during this time of grief.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.