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Week of 5.19.06

The Latest on the New Orleans Election

New Orleans mayoral candidates Ray Nagin and Mitch Landrieu Mayor Ray Nagin narrowly won re-election over Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu on Saturday (May 20) in the race to oversee one of the biggest rebuilding projects in U.S. history.

"We are ready to take off. We have citizens around the country who want to come back to the city of New Orleans, and we're going to get them all back," Nagin said in his victory speech.

The mayor expressed confidence that political opponents and business leaders would unite to rebuild this hurricane-stricken city.

"We're going to bring this city together. It's my intention to reach out to every segment of this community," Nagin said Sunday.

Nagin said he plans to put together a commission to decide on action in the next 100 days, with debris removal and housing as top priorities.

With all 442 precincts reporting, Nagin won with 52.3 percent, or 59,460 votes, to Landrieu's 47.7 percent, or 54,131 votes. The results showed he got black votes from residents scattered across the country who voted by fax and absentee ballots. He also received a sizable crossover vote from white districts.

In conceding the race, Landrieu called for unity and support for Nagin. "One thing is for sure that we as a people have got to come together so we can speak with one voice and one purpose," he said. "Join with me in supporting Mayor Nagin."

Nagin, a former cable television executive first elected to public office in 2002, had argued that it was unwise for the city to change course just as rebuilding gathered steam.

Earlier this month, Nagin released a new hurricane evacuation plan, which relies on buses and trains to evacuate those people who are unable to drive out of the city. Under the plan, the Superdome and the Convention Center -- scenes of misery for thousands of evacuees in the wake of Katrina -- would not be used.

About the Candidates

Mitch Landrieu, a Democrat, has been the Lt. Gov. of Louisiana since 2004. For 16 years he served in the Louisiana House of Representatives. Landrieu earned a law degree from Loyola University Law School. Landrieu's father, Moon Landrieu, was mayor of New Orleans during most of the 1970s, and his sister is U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu.

Ray Nagin, a Democrat, has been the mayor of New Orleans since 2002. Prior to serving as mayor, he worked as a cable-TV executive in the private sector. Nagin holds a Masters in Business Administration from Tulane University. Nagin made headlines when he was openly and bluntly critical of the government's response to Hurricane Katrina victims immediately following the disaster.