A steady stream of New Orleans residents flocked to the polls Saturday to cast their votes in a slate of local races, while candidates pressed forward with last-minute campaigning across the city.
Voters in the city’s 366 precincts are deciding on six citywide races, for mayor, sheriff, coroner, clerk of criminal court and two at-large City Council seats.
Four of the five City Council district seats are also up for grabs, and six neighborhood security and improvement districts will decide whether to renew the fees that pay for their activities.
Voting began at 7 a.m. and will end at 8 p.m.
The day for some campaign volunteers started at dawn, when they assumed their posts on neutral grounds and began canvassing neighborhoods to rally support for their candidates.
Maxine Kimbrell, a volunteer for Jeffrey Rouse, who’s running for coroner, stood on the neutral ground at Magazine Street and Napoleon Avenue and waved a sign at passing motorists.
Kimbrell, a relative of Rouse, said she was at campaign headquarters at 4 a.m. and would be hustling for votes until the polls close.
“I’ve never been part of a campaign,” she said. “It’s eye-popping and fun.”
A few paces away, Bess Deveaughan, 24, was showing her support for one of Rouse’s opponents, Vincent Culotta.
Deveaughan, a law student at Loyola University, was wearing doctor’s scrubs, as were all of Culotta’s volunteers.
In addition to getting the attention of passing motorists, she chatted with pedestrians who shuffled by her post.
“A lot of people don’t know what the coroner does, so we can try to explain it,” she said.
A few blocks away, at Napoleon and St. Charles avenues, a slew of campaign workers did their best to alert motorists to their candidates.
While most held professionally made campaign signs, Troy Delahoussaye, 52, had brought his own: a piece of white posterboard with “Quentin Brown Sheriff” written on it in black marker.
Delahoussaye said he was supporting Brown, a gardener and political newcomer, because the two have worked together.
He said many pedestrians getting of the streetcar hadn’t heard of Brown at all.
While there was the typical frenzy of last-minute campaigning on the streets, most polling locations were operating smoothly, according to Meg Casper, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office.
“It’s been pretty quiet so far,” Casper said.
She said most of the calls her office fielded were from voters who needed help locating their polling place.
She said she had received a few calls about confusion surrounding Sophie B. Wright High School, which was previously used as a polling place.
The building is currently undergoing construction, and voters are instead casting their ballots at the Crocker School of Arts and Technology at 1111 Milan St.
Jennifer Odell, 38, was among those voting at the school.
She said one of the major issues influencing her voting was how prospective City Council candidates had weighed in on a proposed sound ordinance that could limit the volume of music in the French Quarter.
Odell said that while she did use some of the information provided by candidates and local media, she felt she could have benefited from more.
“I had to do a bit of digging,” she said.
According to Rose Mary A. White, the commissioner in charge of a precinct voting at the Crocker School, turnout had been good but lines were short.
James Wilson, a poll worker stationed at New Zion Baptist Church in Central City, said the process had been quick and painless.
“Things have moved smoothly,” he said.