The people of the hurricane-hit US city of New Orleans have narrowly re-elected Ray Nagin to lead them as mayor.
Ray Nagin's outspoken style polarised opinion
Mr Nagin won 52% of the vote in a second round run-off, beating fellow Democrat Mitch Landrieu.
He now faces the task of overseeing reconstruction work and helping tens of thousands of people displaced by last year's hurricane to return to the city.
Mr Nagin's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and his brash style had polarised opinion in New Orleans.
In his victory speech, Mr Nagin told supporters "we are ready to take off".
"We have citizens around the country who want to come back the city of New Orleans, and we're going to get them all back to the city of New Orleans," he said.
Mr Landrieu, who won 48% of the vote, called on both sets of supporters to come together.
"We as a people have got to come together so we can speak with one voice and one purpose. Join with me in supporting Mayor Nagin," he said.
Experts had expected the city to vote largely along racial lines.
Mr Landrieu is white and the son of the city's last white mayor.
Mr Nagin, who is black, is thought to have alienated many white voters last year by saying New Orleans ought to remain a "chocolate" city.
But his election victory shows many whites nonetheless voted for him in the run-off.
Both mayoral contenders had campaigned to rebuild New Orleans.
More than half of the residents who fled Hurricane Katrina last year have not returned to the city, where many neighbourhoods are still uninhabitable.
A federal judge refused to postpone the first round, despite fears too many residents scattered by the disaster would be unable to vote.
Some civil rights leaders have called the election unfair because of the lack of out-of-state polling centres.
Rev Jesse Jackson has pledged to challenge the poll in court, regardless of the outcome.