New Orleans Voters Consider Mayoral Candidates, Future

April 22, 2006 - Posted at 1:29 p.m. CST

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ A New Orleans resident showed up at dawn for

a vote she calls very close to her heart.

Polls have opened this morning for the city's first elections

since Hurricane Katrina.

Sixty-year-old Gloria Brown was in line around 5:30 a-m to help

decide who'll oversee one of the biggest reconstruction projects in

U-S history.

Twenty-two candidates -- including current Mayor Ray Nagin --

are on the ballot. The winner must get 50 percent of the votes.

Otherwise, a runoff will be held next month to decide between the

top two vote-getters.

Today's turnout is being closely watched by civil rights groups.

They've questioned whether the election in a city that once was

two-thirds black will be fair with so many black voters scattered

around the country.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)