Sunday, April 23, 2006

Nagin to face Landrieu in Mayoral runoff...

Photo: Sarah Griffin Thibodeaux/

Voters turn out at this polling place in the 9th Ward of New Orleans yesterday.

The results of the mayoral election in New Orleans were pretty much as expected.

Ray Nagin, the embattled but far-from-vanquished incumbent, rolled to a comfortable first-place finish in Saturday’s crowded New Orleans mayoral primary, finishing ahead of Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu in the first election since Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters changed the course of the city’s history.

Nagin, who has governed under the harsh glare of an international spotlight as his crippled city struggled to regain its footing, now heads to a May 20 runoff against Landrieu, who is attempting to follow in the footsteps of his father, former Mayor Moon Landrieu, the city’s last white chief executive.

Given the city’s plight – with vast swaths of once-vital neighborhoods forlorn and empty, and tens of thousands of residents scattered across the nation eight months after the storm — the election played out before a worldwide audience. Logistics were a hurdle for candidates and voters, not to mention elections officials, who went to great lengths to ensure that displaced voters had an opportunity to cast ballots, either in person or by mail. The effort seemed to pay off as by most accounts the election went smoothly