Image: Ray Nagin
Mario Tama  /  Getty Images
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin waves to supporters during an inauguration parade on Thursday in New Orleans.
updated 6/1/2006 5:28:16 PM ET 2006-06-01T21:28:16

Mayor Ray Nagin was sworn in for a second term Thursday on the first day of the new hurricane season, taking the oath of office in the convention center where thousands of Katrina evacuees suffered in filth and fear nine months ago.

The 49-year-old Nagin was re-elected May 20 after urging the people of New Orleans not change leaders on the brink of another hurricane season.

“Thank you, thank you for the gift of leadership,” he said. “It’s a gift. It’s a gift I do not take lightly.”

The swearing-in took place at the convention center where thousands took refuge without food or water in increasingly squalid conditions after the Aug. 29 storm blew ashore.

Nagin said New Orleans will overcome Hurricane Katrina as it has other major disasters, including the Battle of New Orleans, mosquitoes and yellow fever, a 1927 flood and Hurricane Betsy in 1965.

“We are overcoming Hurricane Katrina right now,” he said, noting that the city is ahead of schedule on getting back displaced residents, and its finances are improving.

Nagin defeated Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu to win re-election.

Earlier Thursday, Nagin attended an interfaith service at St. Louis Cathedral with his wife, Seletha, and his two sons and daughter.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco, with whom Nagin has sometimes had a rocky relationship since the storm, spoke at the service.

“On this day of new beginnings, we’ll come together at all levels of government,” Blanco said. “We are determined to rebuild this beloved city with its soul intact.”

Swearing in ceremonies were also planned Thursday for the seven members of the City Council.

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