When he was elected mayor of New Orleans eight years ago, Mitch Landrieu got to celebrate by parading through the city's streets.

That was the good news. The bad news was that the throngs who braved icy temperatures to pack downtown weren't there to see him.

Landrieu's big win in 2010 came on the same weekend as an even more significant triumph, as far as many of his constituents were concerned: the Saints' first-ever Super Bowl victory. While Landrieu rode an antique fire truck in the celebratory parade, which featured signature floats from all the region's Carnival krewes, he definitely wasn't the main attraction.

Landrieu took his relative place in the order of things well. Meeting the press for the first time as mayor-elect on game day morning, he held up a copy of the Times-Picayune, which featured a solo photo of Drew Brees. "This is not me," he deadpanned.

But not everyone thought the city had its priorities in order.

This wasn't the first time a New Orleans mayoral election, held for several decades in February and March, had run right into the culmination of football season, not to mention the height of Carnival. In 2002, the primary to choose Landrieu's predecessor, Ray Nagin, fell on the same weekend the city hosted the first Super Bowl after 9/11.

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It was the last such election cycle, though, which is looking like a pretty smart decision right about now. For that, we can thank the League of Women Voters of New Orleans, which spearheaded the drive to change the city's election schedule so that new mayors and other major officeholders are chosen in the fall, not the spring.

If 2018 is beginning to feel a little like 2010 on the gridiron — fingers crossed — the same could have been true on the campaign trail, if not for the legislative vote and City Charter amendment that the League championed. Instead, Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell, Desiree Charbonnet and the rest had the spotlight to themselves last fall. There may be a nice coincidence to the fact that an initiative by female activists led to the election of the city's first woman mayor, but the move was really just common sense.

"The Orleans Parish local elections in 2010 were overwhelmed by the Saints' playoff games and their ultimate Superbowl XLIV win on Feb. 7. Carnival season, which began on Jan. 6 ended Feb. 16. Before those events, there were the Christmas holidays, New Year's celebrations and the college bowl games held in the Superdome," League officials wrote on their website. When the league set out to study various obstacles to full community engagement, it found plenty.

"In the course of the study the League examined the impact of the schedule on the ability of the candidates to raise funds and to reach the voters with their campaigns. In addition to the voter distraction, the local election supervisor reported that there was lopsided attendance for commissioner training due to events. Even the delivery and pick-up of voting machines had to take the parades into account," the organization said.

The new schedule, of course, has presented a different challenge: a much longer than usual transition.

While Landrieu and other incoming mayors introduced their transition teams within days, Cantrell is slated to do so this week, nearly two months after she was elected. The long down time has left even some of her supporters wondering if things are on track, and allowed rumors to fester.

This is one-time situation, though. Because Landrieu and fellow city leaders were last elected under the old calendar, they will complete their original terms ending in May. After that, the inauguration will take place in January, a more typical two months after the runoff date.

And in the much nearer term, New Orleanians can go ahead and enjoy the season and what will hopefully be a nice long playoff run without worrying about their civic duty — or worse, ignoring it.

Follow Stephanie Grace on Twitter, @stephgracela.

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