New Orleans — Frustrated by term-limited Mayor Ray Nagin’s leadership of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina, voters elected Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu to succeed him Saturday, turning to a political scion to speed up the city’s recovery.
Landrieu, 49, became the majority-black city’s first white mayor since 1979, the year his father Moon left the office. The mayor-elect, a moderate Democrat, won in a landslide over a field of 10 opponents in a campaign that concluded as Carnival celebrations and preparations for the New Orleans Saints’ appearance in the Super Bowl took place.
Landrieu’s victory party was a nod to both: the ballroom of a the Roosevelt hotel — recently reopened after a post-Katrina restoration — was festooned with Saints-themed black and gold balloons. A roving brass band played Mardi Gras tunes and he prefaced his victory speech by leading the crowd in the Saints’ “Who Dat” cheer.