Mayor Mitch Landrieu, waiting until just days before the primary, announced endorsements in most of this year's City Council races Tuesday, but he remained notably silent on who should succeed him in the city's top job.
An aide to Landrieu said it was still possible that he would endorse a mayoral candidate should there be a runoff on Nov. 18, but that he would not back anyone before Saturday's vote.
What that means for the front-runners -- Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and former judges Michael Bagneris and Desiree Charbonnet -- is uncertain. Landrieu is still a relatively popular mayor, according to a poll commissioned by The New Orleans Advocate and WWL-TV, which put his approval rating at 57 percent.
On the other hand, the candidates have had to distance themselves somewhat from Landrieu over certain hot-button topics, like the persistence of violent crime and the mayor's handling of the Sewerage & Water Board, which drew angry criticism in August after the agency's pumps failed to prevent flooding during a severe downpour.
“We're making a lot of progress, and New Orleans is headed in the right direction," Landrieu said in a statement. "There's a lot more to do, so I look forward to working with these candidates to continue to move New Orleans forward together.”
In the council races, Landrieu gave his nod mainly to incumbents and front-runners.
He's backing state Rep. Helena Moreno for the Division 1 at-large seat and Jason Williams for reelection in Division 2.
In District B, Landrieu's pick is Jay Banks, a longtime figure in the Black Organization for Leadership Development, known as BOLD.
In District C, Landrieu is endorsing Nadine Ramsey for reelection in a fierce competition with Kristin Gisleson Palmer, who held the seat from 2010 to 2014.
In District D and District E Landrieu is backing incumbents as well: Jared Brossett and James Gray, respectively.
The mayor did not release an endorsement in District A, a crowded race featuring a half-dozen candidates.