NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Just a few hours before the City of New Orleans announced it would be lifting its indoor mask mandate, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Orleans Parish School Board President Olin Parker were subpoenaed to testify in court Thursday.
Attorney General Jeff Landry joined more than 100 plaintiffs in a lawsuit against city officials, arguing the mandates are unconstitutional.
According to WGNO’s legal analyst, attorney Cliff Cardone, public officials are oftentimes subpoenaed but not successfully.
“They get their legal representative to file a motion to quash, and the courts would then have to rule on that,” explained Cardone. “It’s very rare that a mayor would actually testify in a deposition or a president of a school board.”
New Orleans Health Department Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno, who’s named in the lawsuit, says data shows that the city’s stricter requirements and guidelines have saved lives.
“We know how devastating this could be, and I don’t think New Orleanians ever wanted to repeat what happened in March and April of 2020,” said Dr. Avegno. “We lost too much, so I do; I feel that the evidence is pretty clear.”
It’s unclear at this time if NOLA public schools will be following suit and lifting their indoor mask mandate.
“Even if the county or parish does not have an indoor mask requirement, the individual school or school board or school system may choose to impose that,” said Avegno. “We strongly support Orleans Parish [public schools] in their decision to continue masking.”
Cardone says now that the city will be lifting their indoor mask rule, it makes the issue irrelevant in court.
“If the attorney general is seeking damages, like money damages, for the mandate of the masking, then that suit could go on, but essentially, I think the issue would be moot, and the courts would probably, by agreement of the parties, dismiss that case,” said Cardone.
We reached out to all three parties. The school system is currently on Mardi Gras break.
According to an Instagram post from AG Landry on Thursday morning:
“Perhaps this was about politics after all.
After our subpoenas were issued, the mayor had a choice, lift her mandates or face even more public scrutiny, including criticism of her choice to go maskless while requiring others to mask.
As a result of her being forced to drop the mandates, our case is no longer on today’s docket. The matter has been continued by the court.
I would again like to thank the parents in this case. They chose to stand up and hold their local leaders accountable. Parents know how to best care for their children, not the government. I will continue to stand alongside parents and their right to make medical decisions for their children.”
A city spokesperson said they do not comment on pending litigation.