New Orleans has a mayor-council government. The city council consists of five councilmembers who are elected by district and two at large councilmembers. Mayor C. Ray Nagin, Jr. was elected in May 2002, and was reelected in the mayoral election of April 22, 2006.
The New Orleans Police Department provides professional police services to the public in order to maintain order and protect life and property. The Orleans Parish Civil Sheriff's Office serves papers involving lawsuits and provides security for the Civil District Court and Juvenile Courts. The Criminal Sheriff's Office maintains the parish prison system, provides security for the Criminal District Court, and provides backup for various New Orleans Police Department patrols.
The city of New Orleans and the parish of Orleans operate as a merged city-parish government.GR6 Before the city of New Orleans became co-extensive with Orleans Parish, Orleans Parish was home to numerous smaller communities. Some of these communities within Orleans Parish have historically had separate identities from the city of New Orleans, such as Irish Bayou and Carrollton . The original City of New Orleans was comprised of what are now the 1st through 9th wards. The City of Lafayette (including the Garden District) was added in 1852 as the 10th and 11th wards. In 1870, Jefferson City, including Faubourg Bouligny and much of the Audubon and University areas, was annexed as the 12th, 13th, and 14th wards. Algiers, on the West Bank of the Mississippi, was also annexed in 1870, becoming the 15th ward. Four years later, Orleans Parish ceased being separate from the city of New Orleans when the city of Carrollton was annexed as the 16th and 17th wards. However, to this day, the USPS still recognizes and accepts mailings which are addressed to Carrollton, LA, as legal and will deliver them to the ZIP code 70118.
New Orleans' government is now largely centralized in the City Council and Mayor's office, but it maintains a number of relics from earlier systems when various sections of the city ran much of their affairs separately. For example, New Orleans has seven elected tax assessors, each with their own staff, representing various districts of the city, rather than one centralized office. On November 7, 2006 a constitutional amendment passed both statewide and in Orleans Parish which consolidates 7 assessors into one by the year 2010
See also: Mayors of New Orleans