NEW ORLEANS — Three students from Orleans Parish were chosen to shadow New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell for a day. The program’s name mirrors just that: “Mayor for a Day.”

Dozens of students entered the contest where they have to write an essay stating what they would do to make New Orleans better.

“On my walk to school every day I see a bunch of abandoned lots so then I had the idea – what if those lots could be pretty? So then I started thinking a lot about it and I thought what if the city and the neighborhood were involved in it,” said Declan Samuelson.

“I wrote about two issues that I thought was keeping New Orleans back which was flooding and New Orleans infrastructure,” said Austin Ogbuefi.

“Health, the immigration beause my family comes from Honduras a poor country so I an really focus on that,” said Scarlet Martinez.

Those three were chosen to be the mayor’s right hand.

“I went to the different meeting locations, after that we had lunch, I got to speak to the different departments, figured out what they did and eventually I branched off and did my own,” said Samuelson.

The three got to go to ribbon cuttings, listen to speeches and attended meetings.

“After the sewage and water board meeting I went to Infrastructure Industry Day that was at the convention center and basically I got to learn about DBE’s which are disadvantage business entities and I learned about projects that the city has money grants to give to these businesses to get them out of the DBE status,” Ogbuefi explained.

Their passion for learning and giving back to the city shined throughout their tenure.

“I cried of happiness I was like oh my gosh,” said Martinez.

All three called it the opportunity of a lifetime.