Stacy Head began her career in politics as an undergraduate student at Louisiana State University. While in college, she worked for the Louisiana state legislature and, after earning a law degree, worked briefly as an attorney. Head has served on the New Orleans City Council since 2006, when she defeated District B incumbent Renée Gill Pratt, who was subsequently indicted for racketeering. Head ran against what she termed the political machine of then-congressman Bill Jefferson (who was subsequently indicted and convicted of racketeering) and became the first white councilmember to represent District B in 31 years. Head was re-elected in February 2010.
Head’s tenure on the council has been marked by a series of controversies, many related to her efforts to reform city government. In 2008, she began investigating the relationship between fees collected and services rendered by the sanitation department. This escalated into arguments about city contracts with minority businesses. When sanitation director Veronica White leaked thousands of e-mails from white members of the city council to activist lawyer Tracie Washington, the conflict expanded, eventually leading to a failed recall drive.
Despite her reputation, Head was elected councilmember-at-large in February 2012, a victory credited to the 12 percent black vote she received. She is now one of two councilmembers-at-large on the seven-person New Orleans City Council. She was reelected in 2014.
Barbara Lacen-Keller is the director of constituent services for New Orleans city councilwoman Stacy Head, and a longtime activist. Former New Orleans mayor Marc Morial called her the “mayor of Central City.” She worked in the Orleans parish school system for 16 years and then became the clinic administrator at the Central City health clinic for another eight years. Since 2006, she’s served as a staff member for councilwoman Head. Lacen-Keller was also the original organizer of the Second Line Cultural Tradition Task Force, which promotes, preserves, perpetuates and celebrates the music and culture of the city. She is also the chair of the Central City Partnership, a community organization that brings together schools, businesses, faith-based organizations and residents and runs a skills bank program to help unemployed community members find jobs.
Corey Watson worked as an electrical engineer until 2000, when he became an ordained minister. He now serves as pastor at Watson Memorial Teaching Ministries, which was founded by his father, Tom Watson, and is located in District B. Corey Watson’s political career began after he became involved in civic initiatives ranging from at-risk youth outreach to environmental justice. In 2012, Watson ran in the election for the councilmember-at-large seat, which he lost. His opponent, Stacy Head, took home 67 percent of the vote, while Watson received 33 percent.
Stephanie Mingo is a housing activist in New Orleans and after Hurricane Katrina was one of the many residents displaced from the old St. Bernard public housing development, the second largest housing project in the city. She was the third generation of her family to live in St. Bernard. The housing project was subsequently demolished after a unanimous vote of the city council. Mingo was offered an apartment in the new mixed income Columbia Parc development, which is being built on the same site, but she refused it. Along with other former tenants, she objects to the small number of residences set aside for low-income former residents of St. Bernard and the new strict rules for residents. Mingo is a mother of four and a longtime employee of the Orleans parish school board.