Known for his signature top-knot, loafers, shorts, and trike, Will Bauer, also known as Lou Catelli, is the unofficial mayor of Hampden. On June 16—his half birthday and 10th anniversary of moving to Hampden—in front of a small crowd at Grano Pasta Bar, Catelli announced that he wants to be the next actual mayor of Baltimore City.
“We have to bring Baltimore the love it deserves and keep moving forward,” he said in a video posted to his Mayor Lou Catelli Facebook page. “We are the greatest city and the greatest town, the greatest neighborhood on the face of the Earth, ever. We want to bring the joy back.”
Catelli (a name he gave himself a decade ago) has been a member of the Hampden Community Council, raised money for the Hampden Family Center, and has even painted crosswalks at a much-needed intersection in a DIY project in the decade that he’s been a resident of the neighborhood. Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, whose district includes Hampden, told The Sun that Catelli has been instrumental in making sure things get done in the neighborhood.
“We don’t always see eye to eye . . . but he shows patience and diplomacy in continuing the effort, usually until it’s successful,” she said. “He’s willing to work with the neighborhood to overcome objections and to move the applications for business.”
Although Catelli has made a public name for himself volunteering for events like Hon Fest and Miracle on 34th or helping a business host a World Cup party, he still remains somewhat a mysterious and private person. For example, no one actually knows his age.
“I do assure everyone that I am not 29 like my Tinder profile says,” he joked. “But I’m old enough to run for mayor. You have to be 25 as of the date of the election, so I did meet that qualification—just barely.”
What we do know about the mayoral candidate is that he was born and raised in Highlandtown and is one of four in an Italian Protestant family. After graduating from high school—three years at Poly and homeschool for one—he began working at his family’s business, DiPasquale’s Italian Marketplace. Catelli moved to Hampden in 2008 where he helped to open Grano Pasta Bar and fell in love with the neighborhood’s charm and close-knit community. He hopes to bring that atmosphere to the rest of the city as mayor.
“I love Baltimore more than anything else and I think we can take stuff we’ve learned here and spread it citywide,” he said. “There’s a lot of problems. Everybody knows about the problems, but there’s also a lack of joy in Baltimore and if we start making one little step here and one little step there, it’s impossible to stop us.”
Catelli acknowledges that it won’t be easy, especially when it comes to Baltimore’s more serious issues of drugs and crime. He says he will heavily lean on his relationship with Maj. Richard Gibson of the Northern District.
“He has 30 years of experience and can help me apply that to the whole city,” Catelli says. “The way he’s treated the police force he’s in charge of in Hampden, it’s all about trust. When the community works with the police force and trusts and respects each other, it goes a very long way.”
Catelli also credits his upbringing and working with his family’s business as prep for what’s to come in 2020. And, in true Lou fashion, he’s going to be unapologetically himself while doing it.
“Expectations will be subverted, trust me,” he said with a laugh. “Me in a suit and tie is not a natural condition. I’m not being calculated about it—I’m just being me. I’ve been me this far in life, so I might as well keep being me the rest of my life.”