For all the hype surrounding yesterday's "ground-breaking" New Orleans elections for a mayor that will "lead" the city's re-building process (wasn't that supposed to have started months ago?), what the city got yesterday was largely just more of the status quo.

Establishment mayoral candidates Ray Nagin and Mitch Landrieu received over two-thirds of the total vote, easily moving into a run-off between the incumbent mayor, and the son of a former mayor, in May. Their predictable dominance -- and the absence of any true reform or "people's" candidate -- made this an election for different flavors of more of the same, rather than change. (Visit here for the unofficial results.)

Some other quick takes on the April 22 contest:

* The voices of the white backlash, corporate leader Robert Couhig and Peggy Wilson (best known for her comment that New Orleans didn't want "gutter punks, pimps, and welfare queens" back in the city), did miserably yesterday. The only two Republicans in the race received a combined 11% of the vote; Wilson could only muster the support of 772 voters at the polls.

* The media insisted on using the meaninglessly vague word "steady" to describe turnout, which in reality was very low. Out of over 297,000 registered voters in New Orleans before Katrina, only some 108,153 voted overall -- 36% turnout, which is especially horrible for an election with this much importance, and with all the publicity this one garnered. (134,000 voted in the 2002 primaries.)

* The displaced were disenfranchised, as most serious analysts of the elections predicted. No one knows exactly how many registered voters are displaced (some put the figure at around 100,000), but only 20,000 voted through the absurdly difficult absentee ballot process. In other words, up to 80% of the city's evacuees -- many of whom want to come back, but can't due to the city's languishing rebuilding process -- will not be represented.

* Race was a major factor in the vote, although not in the way many think. The two establishment candidates who will go to the run-off are viewed as essentially interchangeable by the electorate: the preliminary results are that Nagin (black) received approximately 10% of the white vote and Landrieu (white) received approximately 30% of the African American vote.

Most election analysis will focus on the surface details, but the real issues -- including the real racial details -- go much deeper: who got to vote vs. who didn't, and the growing divide between the interests of the political and business establishment vs. the hundreds of thousands of New Orleans residents, in and out of the city, struggling to stay afloat.