If you were to announce plans to run for New Orleans mayor, you could do worse than starting off with warm testimonials from both the current mayor and the governor.

State Sen. and Louisiana Democratic Party chair Karen Carter Peterson had the opportunity Monday night at a high-dollar fundraiser in her honor, but instead she kept things coy.

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Flanked by Mitch Landrieu and John Bel Edwards at the home of Jimmie Woods, one of the city's sanitation contractors and a frequent host of such gatherings, Peterson had plenty to say, except when it came to her own long term plans. As for the short term, she said she's focused on competing for the vice chair of civic engagement and voter participation position with the national Democratic party.

That was one hint that, at this point, Peterson isn't all that eager to jump into the big open contest to succeed the term-limited Landrieu this fall. Another was that the crowd included at least two other potential mayors, City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, who has indicated she's likely to qualify, and state Rep. Walt Leger, who's considering it. A third was that Woods hosted yet another possible candidate at the elegant house overlooking Bayou St. John, state Sen. J.P. Morrell, at a similar event late last year (Edwards and U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond appeared on the invitation to that one).

The takeaway from all this is that the field remains stubbornly fluid, everybody's exploring their options and few of the major players are choosing up sides yet. For now, the political establishment is acting like one big, mutually supportive family.

When that starts to change, we'll know we've got ourselves a race.

Follow Stephanie Grace on Twitter, @stephgracela.