Who Will Run New Orleans?

Its 2010 mayoral elections are on the horizon. Will an A-list celebrity or a low-profile politician take the reins in post-Katrina NOLA?

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

For the last several years, New Orleans has been working to bill itself to the movie industry as the “Hollywood South.” Yet with a wide-open mayor’s race to replace the term-limited and oft-investigated C. Ray Nagin on the horizon for next February, New Orleans might be bringing an unwanted side effect from its California courtship: celebrity-driven circus elections.

New Orleans’ slow recovery process has been nothing short of an absurd tragedy. Big business has been given the red-carpet treatment while basic social services are tossed to the cutting room floor.

And now with its 2010 mayoral elections, post-Katrina New Orleans is holding an open-casting call. Will an A-lister sacrifice a luxurious lifestyle to stay on-location for four challenging years? Or is this the role that only an undiscovered no-name can play?

Let’s take a look at some headshots:

1. Karen Carter Peterson

You may remember the current speaker pro tem of the Louisiana legislature from such losing electoral efforts as her embarrassing 2006 defeat at the hands of then-indicted and now-convicted former Congressman “Dollar” Bill Jefferson. Nonetheless, she has a big network of potential donors to tap and hails from one of the only political machines still-standing after Katrina and a series of indictments took out the others. An undeclared candidate, she could just as easily opt to take another crack at the Louisiana second Congressional seat.

Pros: Experience, electoral machine, citywide name recognition

Cons: Experience, electoral machine, citywide name recognition