Stacy Head is now the new Councilwoman at large in New Orleans after beating Cynthia Willard Lewis last night by 281 votes. Yesterday was the first time I ever walked in the voting booth and still hadn't made up my mind who to vote for. I almost stayed home. This election was really not an course changing event for the city. Both of the candidates have spent forever on the council already and if they had any ideas to really benefit everybody we would know about them. The only thing we would have gained with Cynthia Willard Lewis winning is more unnecessarily angry white residents and a lot more entertainment at council meetings.
I was surprised it was as close as it was. It’s hard to figure out if Councilwoman Head’s attitude rubs enough people the wrong way that more people went out and voted for Cynthia Willard Lewis. I was listening to her concession speech last night and even she seemed surprised to be so close. The next few years will be interesting because it’s possible that after living through a haze for a few years after Katrina the black community may be starting to pay attention to what’s going on around them. I think it’s been sparked by Chief Serpas, the NOPD, and the fact that there seems to be a lot of development going on downtown and none where we live. Of course, I could be wrong and the next election’s turnout will be 10%. That wouldn’t surprise me.
I remember when I first started voting and how excited I used to be. Now when I go it feels like a chore that I am required to do instead of something that’s going to bring about any change. I’m caught in a strange place because when I vote I think about all the vulnerable people in my community who have no power and worry that in the interest of a few could be shipped to the middle of the bayou to live while their neighborhoods become part of a devastation and poverty tour that tourists can pay 39.95 to visit. On the other hand, the same people that I worry about so much don’t vote or pay attention themselves. One day I’m going to crossover to the middle class frame of mind and worry about things like dog parks and how the city’s taxi cabs look. I’m not there yet and won’t be any time soon so I’ll continue to be frustrated until I see evidence that I shouldn't be.