- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 6, 2006

NEW ORLEANS - On Tuesday, four days before the people of New Orleans go to the polls to elect a mayor, incumbent Mayor C. Ray Nagin and Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu faced off, the two survivors of the April 20 primary.

The floodwaters are gone in New Orleans, but many of the people are still stranded in far-off places, far from the city they love, casting their votes as though they were life preservers.

The two candidates debated more with the moderators than with themselves.

One of the moderators was Hardball host Chris Matthews.

Late in the debate, Matthews asked the two candidates if they would vote for Hillary Clinton for president — eliciting a chuckle from some reporters watching in a room in the lobby of WDSU Newschannel 6.

The two candidates did not shake hands at the top, but at the end of the debate they did once. When the debate was finally over, and both men had held separate interviews on the side, they made their exit.

Mayor Nagin stood on the curb outside in the warm night, along Howard Avenue waiting for his ride, passing behind him to his own vehicle was Lt. Gov. Landrieu. They left as they came, on their own, hardly saying a thing to each other.

This is one step in the process of electing a mayor, one step in the long journey of rebuilding this great city.

Despite the politics, how could one describe the feeling you get when you’re in New Orleans, surrounded by the music, culture, and that sweet Louisiana drawl? It’s as though I was privy to a wonderful, magical dance, of a people in a world I saw only in my dreams.

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