New Orleans elections postponed

Published Dec. 13, 2005|Updated Dec. 13, 2005

BATON ROUGE, La. - Gov. Kathleen Blanco has postponed the New Orleans mayoral election indefinitely, setting up a legal battle with voters who filed a lawsuit seeking to ensure the election is held as scheduled.

Blanco's executive order cites the recommendation of Secretary of State Al Ater, the state's top elections official. Ater has said the city is incapable of holding elections in February because Hurricane Katrina caused so much damage to polling sites and voting machines.

The order was released Monday but Blanco signed it Friday. It did not set a new date for the elections, saying only that they should be held "as soon as practicable."

The postponement affects primaries for mayor, sheriff and City Council seats, as well as runoffs in those races that had been set for March 4. Qualifying for candidates to get on the ballot had been set to begin Wednesday.Bush: Race wasn't factorin Katrina response WASHINGTON - President Bush said Monday that the failures of the government in responding to Hurricane Katrina had nothing to do with race or class and repeated his promise to rebuild the Gulf Coast and New Orleans in particular.

Asked in an interview with NBC News whether the response would have been the same had the destruction occurred on Nantucket or in Chicago or Houston, Bush said he was aware of criticism that the government acted slowly because he was a racist, and he said such criticism was wrong.

"You can call me anything you want," Bush said. "But do not call me a racist."

Using stronger language than he has in the past to acknowledge shortcomings in the response of government, Bush said he was "appalled that a nation as wealthy as ours was not able to respond as effectively as we should have."