Nagin Steps In It Again

Aug. 25, 2006

Heading into the office this morning I had the radio tuned to my favorite Atlanta talk show. Since I don't drink coffee, talk radio is my system's morning jolt. Lo and behold half way up GA 400 the lightening struck.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was in the house, which is always entertaining since everytime he speaks he steps in a pile of it. The station was replaying his comments from a national TV show where Nagin was asked about delays in rebuilding New Orleans during the year following Hurricane Katrina. Nagin immediately goes on the defensive and attacks efforts to redevelop the World Trade Center site.

When a correspondent for the CBS news show "60 Minutes" chided Nagin about all the flood-damaged cars abandoned on New Orleans city streets, the witty Nagin quickly retorted, "You guys in New York can't get a hole in the ground fixed, and it's five years later. So let's be fair."

OK, so you tell me where the connect is here. One has nothing to do with the other. The fact that a large portion of the disaster and lack of prepardedness for the New Orleans tragedy can be directly laid at the feet of the Nagin's inept city government seems to be washed under the levee as so many tons of silt. The fact that Nagin's "chocolate city" is still mostly residing in other areas around the South like Atlanta, Houston and Memphis, should clue Nagin in to how much confidence his former citizens have in his leadership.

I lived in the New Orleans area for close to 3 years when I was going to grad school back in the late 1970s. It was a fun and lively place to be. What was New Orleans has turned into a cesspool of crime and corruption that has to be, in some part, blamed on the city government's incompetence or worse. Everyone knew the levees would not hold. Everyone knew Nagin had no gameplan for a major hurricane. Everyone knew that this city was a disaster waiting to happen.

Now it seems every time Nagin opens his mouth New Orleans relives another embarrassing chapter. The people who reelected Nagin earlier this year are getting just what they deserve. Unfortunately, like the tragedy that was Katrina, his verbal fallout is claiming innocent victims. Every word he utters diminishes the greatness that was once New Orleans. How long are the people of the Crecent City keep to give Nagin a free pass?


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