New Orleans New Orleans residents will cast ballots for mayor today for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, choosing the candidate they want to oversee one of the biggest and most complex urban reconstruction projects in U.S. history.
Twenty-two candidates - including Mayor Ray Nagin, who has been criticized in some quarters for his sometimes-shaky leadership during the storm and his shoot-from-the-hip style - will appear on the ballot in the first municipal election since Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29.
If no candidate gets more than 50 percent, a runoff between the top two vote-getters will be May 20.
The election, which includes seven City Council seats and other local offices, originally was scheduled to take place Feb. 4 but was postponed because of the damage and dislocation caused by Katrina.
Of the city's 297,000 registered voters, about 20,000 cast ballots early.