Here is what I did. I installed the latest version in /wp instead of /wordpress. Then I copied config.php from /wordpress to /wp. Every time I tried to run /wp/index.php, I ended up in /wordpress. So, I renamed that folder. Then nothing worked. I tried upgrade and install, to no avail. So, I went to phpMyAdmin and emptied the database. Then I had to run /wp/install.php. It tried to create database entries, but they already existed, so there were a lot of database errors. After all was said and done, I ran /wp/index.php, and all appears to be working correctly.
It appears that I should have emptied the database before trying to reuse it. I pass that information along for the next newbie who has the same problem.
In a brand new install, does install.php create the mySQL database, or does it have to be created manually? Linux is awesome, but since I don't know much about it, I don't know how WP knows how to tie into mySQL. There must be some system parameters that I cannot see that tie the two together.