Ryan Berni, who has served Mayor Mitch Landrieu in various capacities during both of the mayor's terms, announced today he will be leaving his current post as Deputy Mayor later this month. Berni plans to open his own political and public affairs firm.
The former chief of staff to Democratic strategist James Carville, Berni became Landrieu's press secretary when the mayor took office and has since held several titles, including communications director, senior adviser and campaign manager for Landrieu's reelection campaign. He took a break in 2014 to manage the final months of former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu's unsuccessful bid for the Senate. Berni has served as deputy mayor of New Orleans since January 2016.
In a statement, Mayor Landrieu said, “Ryan has been an integral member of our team since 2010. There’s been very little done in the past eight years that Ryan hasn’t been involved in from beginning to end. I wish him nothing but success as he enters this next endeavor.”
Berni's various roles have included overseeing both the city's taxicab reforms and its controversial short-term rentals laws, as well as serving as what the city refers to as "liaison and point person" for major sporting events in New Orleans, including NFL Super Bowl XLVII, the 2014 and 2017 NBA All-Star Games and Wrestlemania in 2014 and 2018. He also has crossed swords with members of the local media when he's felt coverage has been unfair to Landrieu.
No replacement was named, and it's not clear if there will be one; Landrieu leaves office in May, when Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell is sworn into office.