The man who sold out his city

Regular readers will recall my long series of posts made during and after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.  I was involved in the relief effort at the time, and gathered together many of the experiences and ‘lessons learned’ by myself and others in an effort to make them available to those who might go through something similar in future.  Many people have called them ‘essential reading’ to prepare for any natural disaster – and perhaps a few man-made ones, too.  I think they’re certainly among my most useful articles.

Now CNBC is preparing to show a documentary on New Orleans’ mayor at the time, Ray Nagin, as part of its ‘American Greed‘ series.  I loathed the man.  He failed utterly to prepare for the hurricane’s arrival, leaving tens of thousands of people in the lurch through his administration’s inefficiency.  He then turned corrupt during the rebuilding effort, taking kickbacks, obstructing those who were trying to work without graft, and generally treating the place as his personal fiefdom.  I wasn’t in the least surprised when he was arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to ten years imprisonment for his crimes.  Of course, we had to wait for the Federal courts to do that . . . he controlled the local criminal justice system well enough to make sure he didn’t get into trouble there.

Here’s the trailer for the documentary.

I urge you to watch it, if you have access to CNBC.  Nagin and those like him (and there were, and still are, many corrupt officials in New Orleans, both elected and appointed) are the city’s biggest problem.  (For example, the New Orleans Police Department still has the unhappy distinction of being the only PD in the country to have had two of its officers incarcerated on Death Row simultaneously.)  To this day, I’d put New Orleans in the same league with Chicago, St. Louis and other hell-holes of corruption.  It’s a very sad thing that the citizens of that city can’t seem to elect honest politicians who’ll clean up the place.  It’s long overdue.



  1. "Problem? What problem? I don't see any problem that needs fixed. Other than my wallet is a little thin. Do you think you have something that could help remedy that problem?"

    Why fix a problem when you can make money off of it? Politicians will never fix the problem until someone makes it painfully obvious that there are consequences to not fixing the problem. It really will take something on the order of an event like that dramatized in the book "In Broad Daylight" in which a small rural town shot the local bully and EVERYBODY swore they didn't see a thing. Something like 167 signed statements they were hiding under the pool table in the bar when the shooting started. And the FBI still comes back and questions people 30 or 40 years later.

  2. The sad thing is that when Nagin got elected, a lot of people in N.O. hoped he could reform things. He had cross-racial support, he was already wealthy, and he replaced the last vestige of the corrupt Morial machine.

    But apparently the urge to feather his nest was too hard to resist, and then after Katrina he went Full Mau-Mau, campaigning in a dashiki and blathering about the "chocolate city."

  3. Hey, speaking as a former (til 5ish months ago)
    Saint Louisan, Saint Louis has nothing on New Orleans when it comes to corruption, in my opinion. Sure, Saint Louis *city* has its issues, and plenty of them, but compared to Chicago and New Orleans it's a freaking utopia! *shakes head* No, *Chicago* is corrupt *by nature* Saint Louis is corrupt only when it's not incompetent. Lol. But Saint Louis *county* is very different from the city proper. If *shudder* God-forbid they manage to force through the long-desired (by STL city politicians and liberal idjits) "merger" of STL City & County the famous *mostest dangerous-est city!* crime rate would drop like a rock. But either way, I shan't be there to see it. It just ruffled my feathers to see my hometown, for all her many flaws, compared to New Orleans and Chicago, heh. She may not be perfect, but she's not (yet) a hellhole. North County, OTOH, and Ferguson etc…yeah, they're hellholes. Some good folks there though. God bless!

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