Kenner has only one race heading to a runoff on April 28, but it's a surprisingly intense one: a faceoff between two-term incumbent Gregory Carroll and political newcomer David Weathersby in City Council District 1.
The district in southern and southwest Kenner includes Louis Armstrong International Airport. More than 75 percent of the voters are black.
Carroll's campaign put out a news release recently pointing out that Weathersby was arrested several times in the past on various misdemeanors, including possession of marijuana and domestic abuse battery. The former charge was dropped and the latter was reduced to disturbing the peace, for which Weathersby paid a $200 fine.
"When I was young, I made some bad decisions," Weathersby, 41, said in an interview last week.
"I have never been convicted of anything other than minor misdemeanors," he said. Some of the arrests, he said, were racially motivated. "I have, as a black man, been profiled," he said.
Weathersby, who said he is a licensed contractor, has also been cited several times for driving without a license. He said he is "working on" getting his license.
"Our taxpayer dollars have nothing to do with my past," he said.
In a three-way primary March 24, Carroll finished first, with 44 percent. Weathersby got 37 percent. Jackie Brown-Cockerham finished third.
Brown-Cockerham has endorsed Carroll, but Weathersby said most of the district's residents voted for change.
"This is a grass-roots effort with a lot of volunteers," he said. Voters "are not concerned with 15-year-old records. They are concerned with having to bear the burdens and District 1 not getting their fair share."
Brown-Cockerham said she chose to endorse Carroll because of his "integrity," but said she hopes he'll be better at sharing his ideas with residents, perhaps through a series of town hall meetings.
Carroll, 56, who is director of inmate programs for Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman, admitted that he could be better at communicating. "That is something we started, but obviously it needs to be more," he said.
His first priority if re-elected, he said, would be continuing infrastructure projects, especially drainage and sewer projects in Lincoln Manor. "The more pristine we look, it will be a beacon for people to come here," he said.
He also vowed to make sure that south Kenner benefits from the new airport terminal opening in 2019.
As in any runoff race with a small ballot, turnout could be key. The March 24 ballot also included contested races for mayor and Jefferson Parish sheriff, but both of those were decided without runoffs.
Carroll said getting voters to polls is a challenge for every candidate. Even on March 24, only 20 percent of voters cast ballots for the District 1 race. Voters shouldn't "take a day off because there's no sheriff election," he said.
Carroll has to be considered the favorite, but in politics the rule is that any incumbent forced into a runoff is potentially in trouble.
Carroll is seeking a third consecutive term. Kenner has a two-term limit for officeholders, but candidates can run for a third term if they can get a petition signed by 30 percent of the district's voters. Carroll submitted his petition over the summer, and it was certified in August.