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Mayoral candidates for New Orleans, from left to right, Michael Bagneris, LaToya Cantrell and Desiree Charbonnet listen to final instructions before a mayoral debate sponsored by WWL-TV at the WYES-TV studios in New Orleans, La., Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. Polls open at 7 a.m. in New Orleans on Saturday, Oct. 14.

Advocate staff photo by MAX BECHERER

There have been plenty of debates and forums throughout the New Orleans mayoral primary campaign that ends Saturday, but more questions haven't necessarily led to more clarity about how the major candidates' opinions differ.

Which is why one particular question from WWL-TV's Wednesday night debate stood out.

The three poll-leading candidates were asked not about what they'd do, but about what the man who now holds the office did, specifically Mitch Landrieu's greatest accomplishment and his greatest failure. There was no overlap in the answers on either front.

Former Civil District Court Judge Michael Bagneris, a longtime Landrieu critic who challenged his reelection in 2014, praised the mayor's handling of the city's finances and faulted him for "dropping the ball on public safety" by declaring a moratorium on hiring police during lean times.

Former Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet said the administration had made significant strides in making City Hall more user friendly, but said Landrieu failed as president of the Sewerage & Water Board in not demanding better accountability and transparency.

While all four of those responses represent commonly held opinions of Landrieu's performance, City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell went in a more personal direction.

As a leader of the Broadmoor neighborhood's redevelopment after Hurricane Katrina, Cantrell worked closely with outside foundations, and she lauded Landrieu for keeping those partnerships alive.

As a council member, though, she's sometimes tangled with the administration, and on Wednesday she took the opportunity to cast blame. The worst aspect of Landrieu's leadership, she argued, is that he's been "divisive" and doesn't work well "across lines."

"I've always felt like it was a divide and conquer spirit," she said. So there.

Follow Stephanie Grace on Twitter, @stephgracela.