From French Quarter Tycoon to Elected Official

By Daryan Rose-Havens

  On October 14th, 2017 the city of New Orleans, Louisiana will hold one of its most important and influential elections: the mayoral election. Serving as the city’s chief executive officer, which entails the responsibility of proposing the city’s budget, signing legislation into law, and overseeing the city’s daily doings, the mayor is one of the most imperative positions of the city. The current mayor of New Orleans is Mitch Landrieu and has served for the past eight years. Eyewitness News Political Analyst, Clancy DuBos thinks that New Orleans could see 10 to 12 potential candidates run for the next mayoral seat. Now the big question that every New Orleanian is asking right now is, “Who’s next?”

Although there is no confirmation, not even from the man himself, the city is buzzing with talk about Sidney Torres IV potentially running for mayor. Despite his immense popularity and demanding schedule, Torres was open and willing to discuss the idea of him running for mayor but prefaced his response with, “It’s a serious decision and I have not, I will not make a decision till the last minute.”

Drew Prestridge, a political consultant and a local of New Orleans, emphasizes the importance of holding the mayoral seat. “With being the Mayor of New Orleans, I mean you’re not the governor of Louisiana, but it’s a big deal because a lot of Louisiana looks to New Orleans, whether they like it or not; for the pulse of business, finance, Louisiana’s economy, and for being one of the chief port cities in the South. Being the mayor is such a big deal because it’s being the chief person of one of the largest cities in the United States.”

    When asked how he’d approach being mayor and what his first plan of action would be, Torres thought for a moment then replied:

“I would go and spend time in every department to understand the inefficiencies of each department and understand what the processes are in dealing with looking at the budget and understanding the balancing sheet. Similar to looking at a troubled company; looking at where the lack of usage of valuable land that can be generating revenue to the wasted moneys being spent on inefficiencies, to peoples training, and be able to look at what is the ability of getting people the tools they need to do their jobs more effectively.  Just really looking at everything, assessing it to be able to come up with a way to putting things back into a position to where the city is prospering. That’s just a small sample of what I would do.”

Without mentioning Sidney Torres IV and his hypothetical mayoral position to Drew Prestridge, the New Orleans political consultant, Prestridge described what he believes New Orleans needs in a mayor. Surprisingly, Torres matches the description. “What I hope from the next mayor, is somebody who can unite and bring everybody together. Obviously with our national politics right now, in a city like this, that has a lot of diversity and probably leans a little more progressive, being that it’s an urban area, a lot of people are freaked out about what’s going on right now. Whether the mayoral candidates like it or not, I think it’s going to come into play into this election. They’re [the people of New Orleans] going to want a mayor that is not divisive, that can bring people together, that can focus on issues that are important to the city like safety, housing, education, jobs.”

Following his brief description of how he would begin his role as mayor, Torres talked for a minute about the city’s current situation in regards to the budget, the crime rates, and the infrastructure and how right now, it is not something the city should be proud of. “To me it’s not a big accomplishment to say, “Okay, well I balanced the budget and got money,” when you’re deferring the maintenance, your streets are messed up, crime’s every where, and there’s no opportunity for kids. I think we need someone who is hands on who understands how to deal with multiple departments, that financially is stable enough to not have to worry about taking care of themselves, that can focus on the city and somebody who has a proven track record to do so.”

Prestridge agrees with Torres that New Orleans has its problems, but he believes that it is actually going in a direction that is flourishing. “New Orleans obviously has a lower population than it used to, but a lot of people are moving back, which I think that is a good sign of the direction the city is moving in. The city still has a lot of issues, like any big, metropolitan area has. New Orleans is one of the most unique cities in the state.” When asked what he thought of Torres and how he thinks he would do as mayor, he had a simple, yet ambiguous answer. “He’s kind of a character. He seems like a person that people like to watch and like to follow and I think that rings true to the fact that he has a TV show now. I think he would certainly be an interesting person to watch in the race.”

But who is Sidney Torres and why is his running for mayor such a big deal for the people of New Orleans? Looking like he just stepped off of a Calvin Klein runway in his all black, fitted clothes, Torres is an average height, lean man with long, dark hair which he tends to wear in the new, trending “man-bun.” In a French Quarter mansion that he himself renovated, Torres hangs out with his golden retrievers and often goes for strolls throughout the neighborhood, admiring the city he loves so much. “I grew up in a little town outside of New Orleans, in St. Bernard Parish and I moved out as a kid. I always went to school in New Orleans, so I was really from New Orleans.”

Sidney Torres IV, along with many other contributions, is a huge benefactor to the cleaning up of New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina, causing the city to hold him in a special place in its heart. “I’m a person who likes to try to find things that need assistance or help that are troubled, or in difficult situations.”

After high school, Torres was unsure about what he wanted to do with his life. “I didn’t really want to go to college. I got a job working for Lenny Kravitz’s personal assistant and traveled the world for like a year and half, two years. Then, yeah, he fired me because I got caught up in that whole lifestyle of living. For 60 days I didn’t know what I was going to do.”

Following his period of uncertainty, Torres began working with a construction company, which eventually sparked his interest in real estate.  Several years after his first house-flipping project, Torres currently has a television show on CNBC, called “The Deed,” where he helps people invest in and renovate houses throughout the city of New Orleans. Adding to the list of his accomplishments in cleaning up the city, Torres runs a trash company that originally appeared right after Hurricane Katrina, and is now called “IV Waste.” He has also partnered with the city in regards to the French Quarter and created a designated police force, French Quarter Task Force, which is on site and is constantly patrolling the area to ensure safety. Sidney Torres IV has not only invested his time and money into the city, but his heart.
 The mayor of New Orleans needs to be prepared for the trials and tribulations that come with such a respected and coveted title. In an almost nonchalant way, Prestridge advises anybody who is considering running for mayor, “In New Orleans politics, even though it’s a big city, everybody knows everybody. Which can be an advantage and disadvantage depending on how they know you.” If this is the case, and if Sidney Torres IV does ultimately decide he would like to run for mayor, the odds may turn out in his favor. The city of New Orleans will continue to ponder and toy with the idea of who will be its next mayor and ultimately pick the best candidate. A local French Quarter resident, who has asked to remain anonymous, thought for a moment about Torres potentially running for mayor and ultimately only had one thing to say, “I can tell you that what I know of Sidney, I think he would try to do a good job. I’m a little sour about politicians because they promise the moon but that don’t mean a damn thing. Maybe, hopefully, if Sidney was chosen because of his care or concern for the city, he would be a good mayor. Maybe he just wants to be mayor so he can make some more money.”

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