BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco agreed Friday to postpone New Orleans' Feb. 4 elections for mayor and City Council for as long as eight months because of the damage and dislocation caused by Hurricane Katrina.
Blanco's decision came hours after Louisiana's top elections official recommended the delay, saying polling places had not been rebuilt and hundreds of thousands of voters remained scattered across the country.
Secretary of State Al Ater said he needed to ensure that poll workers were in place and polling places and absentee voting systems were ready for an election that he called "the most important in that city's life."
"The new administration, the new council, the new people that will be elected will be in charge of making decisions affecting billions and billions and billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives," Ater said.
Ater said the election should be held no later than Sept. 30, 2006.