The long race for New Orleans mayor is now in the home stretch.
Voters go to the polls on Saturday to pick the city's top elected official for the next 4 years. Incumbent Mayor Mitch Landrieu is term-limited and not seeking another term.
Election signs are popping up across the city as candidates work to solidify their base of support and get out the last minute vote.
Lunchtime talk about the election was picking up Monday at L'il Dizzy's.
Sen. Wesley Bishop, D-New Orleans is not in the race, but was among the customers having a bowl of gumbo at the popular Treme cafe.
"Just based on the conversation I've been having around town a lot of people are beginning to focus in on this particular race," Bishop said. "I think you're going to see that increase as the next couple of days go by."
Recent polls show any two of the three leading candidates could make the runoff.
A poll of likely voters released Monday morning by Verne Kennedy with Market Research Insight, shows former Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet in first with 32 percent, followed by former Civil District Court Judge Michael Bagneris at 28 percent and City Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell in third with 27 percent.
The WWL-TV/New Orleans Advocate poll released last week showed Cantrell in first with 27 percent, Charbonnet close behind, with 26 percent, followed by Bagneris at 19 percent.
"As it stands now, this is still a wide open election," WWL-TV Pollster Ron Faucheux said. "There's still enough undecided votes. There's still enough soft commitment to these candidates where there could be a lot of movement in the last few days."
Faucheux added Bagneris has shown the most momentum coming into the final week of the campaign.
"Latoya Cantrell and Desiree Charbonnet have generally been going back and forth in first and second place," Faucheux said. "Bagneris has moved up and he certainly is in contention."
Back at L'il Dizzy's, customers are choosing sides.
"I think as we come into the stretch, I think Michael is starting to look good, Michael Bagneris," owner Wayne Baquet said. "I like the other ones. They're friends of mine, but I like Mike."
"I feel like Latoya is here to work," Marigny resident Charlene Coco said. She's made that statement. One hundred percent, I plan to vote for her."
"I know all of the candidates that are actually running, the three or four serious candidates," Bishop said. "I'm friends with all of them. They all can do a fine job. I think Desiree (Charbonnet) will do the best job in leading this city forward."
In addition to the candidate, diners were also talking about the issues in the mayor's race.
"We talk a lot about the Sewerage and Water Board," Baquet said. "We talk a lot about that, you know, who can do something about that."
Coco said she's looking for a mayor who will, "get the job done."
No matter where you go in this city, you hear the same issues," Bishop said. "Crime is a big problem. Sewerage and Water Board is a big problem. Economic development and jobs are big problems. Education is a big problem."
With a race that could come down to the wire, the pressure is now on for candidates to get their voters to the polls on Saturday.
"It's very important that we get out here and vote," Baquet said. "It's extremely important that we try to keep New Orleans on the right track and get it on the right track, It's a great city."
Orleans Parish Registrar of Voters Sandra Wilson reports close to 14,000 people cast ballots last week during early voting. She predicts turnout for Saturday's election could range between 32 and 38 percent.
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