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May 20, 2006 8:08 PM   Subscribe

Ray Nagin has been reelected as the mayor of New Orleans.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket (80 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I don't get it. About the only way he could have handled Katrina worse would be to have stood in front of the camera buck naked while screaming, "WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!" while simultaneously pushing the head of a kicking and flailing child under the water. What, precisely, did Nagin have going for him save for the color of his skin?
posted by Justinian at 8:19 PM on May 20, 2006


Huh? -- the Associated Press is reporting:

New Orleans run-off election too close to call
Less than 100 votes separate mayor Nagin, challenger Landrieu.
posted by ericb at 8:20 PM on May 20, 2006


Somebody better tall Landrieu, 'cause he's giving his concession speech live on TV right now.
posted by Justinian at 8:22 PM on May 20, 2006


Now (actually 4 minutes ago) the Associated Press is now reporting:

Nagin Wins Re-Election As Big Easy Mayor.
posted by ericb at 8:26 PM on May 20, 2006


What, precisely, did Nagin have going for him save for the color of his skin?

the ability to go with the flow? ... to let stuff roll off of him like water off a duck? ... possibly he managed to bus his supporters to the polls ...
posted by pyramid termite at 8:30 PM on May 20, 2006


ericb

the headline of the article you linked to has been changed to "Nagin holds onto leadership of New Orleans"

there's also a breaking news banner atop the page saying Nagin has been reelected.
posted by pruner at 8:30 PM on May 20, 2006


I don't get it. About the only way he could have handled Katrina worse would be to have stood in front of the camera buck naked while screaming, "WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!" while simultaneously pushing the head of a kicking and flailing child under the water. What, precisely, did Nagin have going for him save for the color of his skin?

What, specifically, did Nagin do that was so horrible?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:36 PM on May 20, 2006


Thank god for Metafilter. Otherwise I'd never have known!
posted by Nelson at 8:40 PM on May 20, 2006



Indeed, Nelson.

But this is interesting: Katrina flood maps of the city, including charts broken down by council district, race and flood depth.

At a flood depth of 0-2 feet, there were 42,256 white and 38,905 black registered voters. At 4+ feet, there were 32,708 white and 118,104 blacks registered voters.

Of course we all knew this, but I've never seen the numbers crunched before.

I like Nagin's style, and his radio interview after Katrina kicked ass.

I also like this, from his Wiki entry:

Shortly after taking office, Nagin launched an anti-corruption campaign within city government, including crackdowns on the city's Taxicab Bureau and Utilities Department. Media scenes of corrupt officials being led out of City Hall in handcuffs were received with surprised enthusiasm by much of the public. When an investigation into corruption among city vehicle inspection certification workers (locally known as "brake tag inspection") suggested that corruption was systemic, Nagin fired the entire department workforce. He declared a month-long hiatus on inspections and a moratorium on ticketing for expired tags while an entirely new force of employees were hired and trained for the city's brake tag inspection stations. Nagin's actions were viewed with surprise, given the state's history of preferential political treatment for people with social or family connections. Indeed, when Nagin was asked what should be done about his cousin, who was implicated in the taxi cab bureau scandals, Nagin said "if he's guilty, arrest him." Nagin's cousin was later arrested.
posted by bukharin at 8:57 PM on May 20, 2006




I dunno, knowing very little I'd call this for the "stand behind our ____" effect, really. (I don't mean to say that there has been a campaign that suggests people who vote against Nagin are abandoning the leader, just natural human tendencies). It isn't like that's without precedent, is it?
posted by SomeOneElse at 8:59 PM on May 20, 2006


Well, he proved himself to be completely incompetent, just like every other state and federal official involved in that catastrophe. He also acted like a man of the people and a victim of the government when he was responsible for a lot of the shit that went wrong.
posted by puke & cry at 9:00 PM on May 20, 2006 [1 favorite]




Thanks for the article, ColdChef.
posted by bukharin at 9:01 PM on May 20, 2006


I don't think he's the first, and probably not the last American politician to be re-elected after responding to a major catastrophe poorly; you guys should really be used to this by now.
posted by wumpus at 9:07 PM on May 20, 2006


Well, he proved himself to be completely incompetent, just like every other state and federal official involved in that catastrophe. He also acted like a man of the people and a victim of the government when he was responsible for a lot of the shit that went wrong.

I'm sure political analysts will be using Nagin and Brown as case studies of the right way and wrong way to behave publicly when everything is going wrong.
posted by bobo123 at 9:20 PM on May 20, 2006


Coldchef, most of the named sources in that article were people who ran against him. I have problems with Nagin, but that read like a hit piece.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:44 PM on May 20, 2006


i think everyone has problems with Nagin, but he did good afterwards, and is in an impossible situation still--there's very little reconstruction going on in poor neighborhoods and infrastructure (roads, hospitals, schools, etc) and the levees still aren't good enough nor repaired yet, and FEMA's worth less than all of them combined in terms of housing and helping, which is their job.

And didn't Landrieu run on his name and family? Does NO really need another Landrieu? Wasn't the father corrupt? And isn't the sister useless?
posted by amberglow at 10:04 PM on May 20, 2006


True, the article is fairly brutal on Nagin, but it's worth the read just for this side story on Michael Brown:

Brown listened to Stephens's litany of complaints and demands, sizing him up as "a slick politician kind of guy … with all these deputies all around, with these guns everywhere." Observing one of the aides or a policeman continually spitting tobacco into a cup, Brown began plotting an exit strategy. "I turned to my security guys and said, 'There's nothing here for me to do and I don't know why I'm talking to this guy.' … And we boogied out of there."
posted by ColdChef at 10:05 PM on May 20, 2006


Isn't the place called Chocolate City now?
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:06 PM on May 20, 2006


People really like basic things in life, like the color of a person's skin. You can't really discount how amazingly far that goes.
posted by xmutex at 10:09 PM on May 20, 2006


the ability to go with the flow? ... to let stuff roll off of him like water off a duck? ... possibly he managed to bus his supporters to the polls ...


Where'd he get the buses?
posted by codswallop at 10:17 PM on May 20, 2006


More on Mitch Landrieu.

I don't think people give him enough credit for being able to bring disparate voices together for the common good. He's someone who understands the "service" in public service.

And, I think he's got a strong enough background to judge him separately from his sister and his father.

I take solace in the fact that I believe his love of New Orleans is genuine and the fact he was not elected will not stop him from coming to its aid.
posted by ColdChef at 10:20 PM on May 20, 2006


What has Landrieu specifically achieved post-Katrina to help? Spell it out for us.
posted by amberglow at 10:34 PM on May 20, 2006


"You don't need the bullet when you got the ballot
Are you up for the downstroke, CC?
Chocolate city
Are you with me out there?"

posted by insomnia_lj at 10:37 PM on May 20, 2006


Isn't the place called Chocolate City now?
more of a white chocolate nowadays, people are saying.
posted by amberglow at 10:38 PM on May 20, 2006


Sad day for new orleans. Hopefully things will improve inspite of nagin
posted by justgary at 10:42 PM on May 20, 2006


I think that if Nagin's victory means that more African-Americans come back to New Orleans -- or at least feel that his victory is a nice extra reason to come back -- that can't help but be a good thing.

I would love to see another Chocolate City, as exemplified by George Clinton's empowering anthem. Is that really all that racist?
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:44 PM on May 20, 2006


You guys are swallowing republican talking points whole.

The guy was a one-term mayor of a medium-sized city full of poor people. There is no way he could have handled Katrina on his own, with city funds. You guys are basically lambasting him for not having billions of dollars in disaster recovery money and the world's best logistical team.

That's absurd. The federal government has those resources, and Nagin clearly expected the government to come to the rescue within a few days. That's not an unreasonable plan, and if the federal government hadn't been so incompetent evacuating the super-dome it's unlikely you would have seen the horrible situation un-fold.

People often show that flooded-out parking lot full of busses, but lets be realistic, the roads were clogged with traffic, and in the days before Katrina, a trip to baton rouge Louisiana took about nine hours. The busses could have taken people to the superdome, but then what? You still have the same problem.

Beyond those busses, what specifically could Nagin have done differently? In answering, try to think about how much those things would have cost, and how he could have afforded to do them with the city's budget.

Of the state, federal, and city governments, the city government had by far the least amount of power, and funding to do anything, and so they deserve the least amount of scorn.
posted by delmoi at 10:50 PM on May 20, 2006


What has Landrieu specifically achieved post-Katrina to help?

Well, to be honest, what he's mostly been doing is running for mayor. But, to clarify my sentiments above, I'm not really upset that Nagin won, as much as I'm saddened that Landrieu didn't. Call it "macho man" posturing if you want, but in the aftermath, the Lt. Governor of the state was in a fucking boat pulling people off the tops of houses. He wasn't having press conferences or squabbling with politicos. He was in the water. And I respect that immensely.

And here's what the local alternative-press had to say about the candidates.
posted by ColdChef at 10:51 PM on May 20, 2006


And didn't Landrieu run on his name and family? Does NO really need another Landrieu? Wasn't the father corrupt? And isn't the sister useless?

No, Why not?, No, and No.

As a New Orleanian, the outcome of the race is so supremely disappointing, because, as in the past, most of my fellow citizens can't seem to vote out incompetency. I've never felt so sorry for my fellow voters...not since 11/04.
posted by Pacheco at 10:51 PM on May 20, 2006


Also, remember it was the white, upper class business community that got Nagin into power in the first place. And it sounds like he was doing a good job of running the place before the hurricane hit.
posted by delmoi at 10:52 PM on May 20, 2006


demoi: People thought he was doing a good job because they didn't think there was an alternative. When the storm hit, a lot of people started thinking "wait, we can have a leader who can actually do somehting for the city nationally"...tonight we squandered that opportunity.
posted by Pacheco at 10:55 PM on May 20, 2006


the Lt. Governor of the state was in a fucking boat pulling people off the tops of houses. He wasn't having press conferences or squabbling with politicos. He was in the water. And I respect that immensely.

Of course, Nagin was actually the mayor and actually trying to manage the situation. That "squabbling with politicos" was trying to get the tens of thousands of people in the superdome evacuated.

If Nagin was on a boat pulling people to safety himself, who would manage the badly understaffed police and fire units?

That's like complaining That Churchill and FDR weren’t in the battle fields themselves, not that I would Nagin on the level of those guys, of course.
posted by delmoi at 10:56 PM on May 20, 2006


"Hopefully things will improve inspite of nagin"

So, you're going to condemn a man eternally because although he did keep the buses running to evacuate people to the stadium, he didn't somehow have advanced plans in place to force school bus drivers to stay behind and evacuate people? (Nevermind that up until that point, there has never been any such emergency policy in any other city.)

It's easy to find mistakes made beforehand in the planning stages by what is, essentially, a rather poor city... but the scale was literally unprecidented, and people had been warned for decades that there would be no way to evacuate everyone.

Nobody took the evacuation situation seriously enough beforehand, city, state, or federal. I didn't see military trucks prestaged in the city for the evacuation either, and really, the National Guard would've been the most appropriate source of drivers which could be compelled to risk their lives under such circumstances.

Unlike Bush -- or perhaps even Louisiana's governor -- I have no doubt that Nagin has felt an incredible burden, frustration, and incredible regrets over what he could've done beforehand. Unlike Bush and Landrieu, he also showed considerable leadership once the crisis hit. It's really hard to condemn him too hardly under the circumstances, when there are so many ways that he is the right person to lead New Orleans right now.
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:57 PM on May 20, 2006


If Nagin was on a boat pulling people to safety himself, who would manage the badly understaffed police and fire units?

It certainly wasn't Nagin.
posted by Pacheco at 10:58 PM on May 20, 2006


demoi: People thought he was doing a good job because they didn't think there was an alternative. When the storm hit, a lot of people started thinking "wait, we can have a leader who can actually do something for the city nationally"...tonight we squandered that opportunity.

Well, maybe. I don't know anything about Landrieu, so you may be overstating his national name-ID. Everyone knows who Nagin is. In fact, the scant press coverage of the election that I've seen has always been "Nagin vs. some other people".

Why would Landrieu be able to be a better national spokesman then Nagin?
posted by delmoi at 10:59 PM on May 20, 2006


What has Landrieu specifically achieved post-Katrina to help? Spell it out for us.

I'm sorry, was landrieu in change? Was he the chief official in charge of NO? What has Nagin done post-Katrina besides bitch and moan about being a victim of big government? Spell it out for us, you fucking jackass.
posted by puke & cry at 10:59 PM on May 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


People often show that flooded-out parking lot full of busses, but lets be realistic, the roads were clogged with traffic, and in the days before Katrina, a trip to baton rouge Louisiana took about nine hours.

Not to mention the fact that Baton Rouge would have had no place to put them.

People overlook the fact that this was the BEST evacuation in the history of New Orleans. A STAGGERING amount of the city was evacuated (compared to past near-misses). Of the people who stayed, I guarantee you that 90% wouldn't have left, even if the city provided stretch Hummers packed with poboys. SOME PEOPLE JUST WON'T LEAVE.

To me, pre-Katrina is a moot issue. It was the lack of leadership after the storm that drowned the city.
posted by ColdChef at 10:59 PM on May 20, 2006


"The busses could have taken people to the superdome, but then what?"

Indeed, the buses *DID* take people to the Superdome all that day, and many of the bus drivers kept doing their routes after they were scheduled to get off, simply because there were still some people trying to get rides.

Truth of the story is that most people didn't *WANT* to evacuate to the Superdome until *AFTER* the hurricane hit. It's a shame, because public transportation actually could've taken more people there beforehand.
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:01 PM on May 20, 2006


If Nagin was on a boat pulling people to safety himself, who would manage the badly understaffed police and fire units?

As someone else suggested, you're assuming that the police and fire units were, in fact, being managed. (which, from all ground accounts I've heard, they most certainly were not).

Again, I'm pro-Landrieu, not anti-Nagin. I'm not suggesting that the Mayor should have been pulling people out of the water. I'm saying that I respect Landrieu because that's what he did.
posted by ColdChef at 11:05 PM on May 20, 2006


ColdChef: And that is Nagin's fault, is it not?

delmoi: Besides the fact that his sister is a US Senator--he gets along with Blanco (Nagin pretty much has no rapport/relationship with her) and he can articulate very preceisely what this city needs. Nagin, on the other hand, has basically become emotionally unstable since the storm. Most of us have but I wouldn't vote for most of us.
posted by Pacheco at 11:05 PM on May 20, 2006


ColdChef: And that is Nagin's fault, is it not?

Hell, I don't know. After the storm, I was trying to put my family's life back together. In those first crazy days, you couldn't make a phonecall that lasted more than ten seconds, much less organize a police force.

I guess, since he's the mayor, order should have been his top priority, but remembering what it was like, it'd be hard for me to completely fault him for that.

This was, as everyone has said, a failure at ALL levels.

Most of us have but I wouldn't vote for most of us.

Amen to that.
posted by ColdChef at 11:14 PM on May 20, 2006


I'm sorry, was landrieu in change? Was he the chief official in charge of NO? What has Nagin done post-Katrina besides bitch and moan about being a victim of big government? Spell it out for us, you fucking jackass.
Was Landrieu the Lieutenant Governor because he liked seeing his name in the papers? He was in charge of tourism and tourism only. He has no housing experience, no social services experience, the corporate community in NO does not like him, he has no infrastructure experience, nor any experience at getting things from Washington...the list is endless of what he doesn't have experience doing. I'm asking for specifically what he has done post-Katrina to help with the unbelievably massive needs that still exist, and are not being met. And go insult someone else.
posted by amberglow at 11:22 PM on May 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


Oddly, though, most people I've talked to agree that while there were failures at the local, state, and federal levels, we'd have been a hell of a lot better off with Bobby Jindal or Mike Foster in the governor's mansion.

(Of course, the best case scenario would have been for former governor Edwin Edwards to personally evacuate all of New Orleans's exotic dancers in his own private limousines.)
posted by ColdChef at 11:22 PM on May 20, 2006


Bobby Jindal would have just prayed...Mike Foster would have gone fishing...and Edwin Edwards would have...yeah he would have evacuated the dancers
posted by Pacheco at 11:28 PM on May 20, 2006


From The Gambit's endorsement:
We endorse Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu because he has the skill sets that New Orleans needs to get its recovery moving faster and in the right direction. He has years of political experience, yet solid credentials as a reformer. As lieutenant governor, he has worked closely with hospitality-industry leaders to bolster Louisiana's cultural economy -- while implementing fiscal reforms in his office. Above all, Landrieu has a long history of reaching across racial and party lines to work with a wide variety of people. More than anything else right now, New Orleans needs a mayor who can get things done.

Four years ago, we enthusiastically endorsed Ray Nagin as our new mayor. We still like many things about him -- his charm, his swagger, and his honesty among them. Unfortunately, Mayor Nagin has not been very effective at getting things done -- mostly because he consistently fails to reach out to other officials whose cooperation is vital to the city's progress. For the longest time, we hoped that Mayor Nagin would hone some political skills and grow into his job. That hasn't happened. In fact, Katrina and its aftermath underscored his shortcomings -- and the city has suffered for it. New Orleans cannot afford to wait any longer for Mayor Nagin to "get it." We need a mayor who understands -- right now -- how to make government work for the greater good. Mitch Landrieu will be that mayor.

Some have criticized Landrieu for being "too political" or "yet another Landrieu." Those are shallow arguments. Our next mayor will have to put together coalitions to move New Orleans forward; being an effective politician is therefore going to be Job One. As for his family, we suggest Landrieu's detractors look up Time magazine's issue of April 25, 2005, which named Chicago's Richard Daley as one of America's five best mayors. Daley's father was the epitome of an old-line political boss, yet he is the darling of the Windy City's business community. We urge all our readers to put "politics" aside and vote for the man most capable of getting New Orleans moving again -- Mitch Landrieu.


Read this as: he's exactly the kind of shady politician that New Orleans needs right now.
posted by ColdChef at 11:30 PM on May 20, 2006


Before Katrina, most people had never heard of Nagin. But even after Katrina, most people have absolutely zero clue about how incredibly corrupt, dysfunctional, and poor New Orleans is.

Blaming Nagin for his poor handling of Katrina is like Limbaugh blaming the people in Ninth Ward projects for not evacuating themselves from the city (hint: most of these people live hand to mouth, don't have cars, and have little or no credit or cash to their names). The city doesn't have enough money to deal with immediate needs like police officers (the murder rate in New Orleans is one of the highest in the nation) or public schools (public schools in New Orleans are so bad that white parents send their kids almost exclusively to private schools).

Nagin deserves national hero status for attacking the corruption in New Orleans. If you haven't lived in New Orleans, you have no idea how absolutely and completely corrupt the city is from top to bottom. It's like a third world country. The entire police department runs a legal protection racket (businesses pretty much have to hire police officers at very high wages to work as security guards at night if they want the department to respond to their calls). I saw three separate armed robberies in the nice, white, residential Uptown neighborhood around Tulane University (two were in broad daylight) where the police never even bothered to show up. Many friends had similar experiences.

I've had break tag officers rip my windshield wipers right in front of me (costing you money plus several extra hours to get them fixed, then get back in line) for not understanding they were supposed to be bribed tipped.

Some of the worst murders in the city have been committed by police officers: one policewoman, high on crack, gunned down an entire Vietnamese family at their restaurant (minus one kid who hid in a freezer) AND her off-duty partner who happened to be there (both partners were regulars at the restaurant - part of the usual protection racket stuff) while robbing the place. She then responded to the call (it's a miracle the kid testified; seriously, had the officer not been a black woman who killed a white police officer, it's less than certain it would have made it to trial). Sound like an exaggeration? Here's a quick synopsis of this and one element from the next story

The FBI even had a sting where they hired more than two dozen officers to guard a large shipment of cocaine, but were only able to arrest about ten officers because the first ones that showed up decided they would kill the FBI officers and sell the cocaine themselves, so the FBI had to close the sting before waiting for the remaining unnamed officers to arrive. The also happened to tape another officer hiring a hit on woman. The woman had complained that the officer was abusive during a traffic arrest (the complain department was - typical New Orleans - within the police department itself and readily shared the complaints with the offending officers). The officer was angry to have the mark on his record, so he paid something like $50 to have her gunned down on her doorstep.

There was another police officer that had robbed hundreds of thousands of dollars from area banks, and bought and sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of drugs before the Feds got him.

I've even heard stories of people being gunned down almost literally on the steps of the courthouse (killed by police officers for 'trying to escape') on their way to the courthouse.

A former governor of Louisiana used to "win" hundreds of thousands of dollars playing poker with corporate execs of oil and gas companies in the state - and not only didn't the governor deny it, he bragged about it claiming he won far more money than stated in the allegations.

If Nagin is anything less than completely incompetent and completely corrupt, he's a big improvement from the usual. My impression is that he's only marginally incompetent and not especially corrupt, which makes him a comparatively decent choice when compared to recent mayoral candidates in the last few decades.
posted by Davenhill at 11:31 PM on May 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


Oddly, though, most people I've talked to agree that while there were failures at the local, state, and federal levels, we'd have been a hell of a lot better off with Bobby Jindal or Mike Foster in the governor's mansion.

Isn't Jindal the one who claims he actually talks to Jesus and stuff, like literally sees visions and stuff?

Not very reassuring.
posted by delmoi at 11:36 PM on May 20, 2006


Davenhill has a point. I went to get my brake tag renewed shortly after Nagin took office and they refused to give me a brake tag for some B-S reason and I jsut exclaimed "I thought Nagin was supposed to have fixed this place"...well she pretty immediately gave me a new one. That was pre-K, though...I'm kind of worried about the people backing him post-K.
posted by Pacheco at 11:40 PM on May 20, 2006


It's worth noting that "Louisiana Weekly", a local African American publication endorsed Mitch Landrieu for Mayor in their May 15 paper (p4) specifically because they believe that Ray Nagin has become a punchline and ineffectual as a leader. They go on to point out the accomplishments of Landrieu's family and reiterate his connections which a struggling New Orleans desperately needs.
posted by ColdChef at 11:41 PM on May 20, 2006


Isn't Jindal the one who claims he actually talks to Jesus and stuff, like literally sees visions and stuff?

Oh, hell. That's hardly considered crazy by Louisiana standards. We had a governor who rode his horse up the steps of the state Capitol to protest integration.
posted by ColdChef at 11:46 PM on May 20, 2006


My impression is that he's only marginally incompetent and not especially corrupt, which makes him a comparatively decent choice when compared to recent mayoral candidates in the last few decades.

That may have been enough before the storm, but now I want to vote for the guy who will beg, borrow, and steal the most for us.
posted by ColdChef at 11:49 PM on May 20, 2006


FWIW I'm not saying Landrieu was a bad choice, just that a lot of the criticism of Nagin is based on a tiny snapshot during one of the worst disasters in our nation's history. Nagin was no Giuliani when it came to public relations during the disaster. But when it came to fighting corruption, Nagin was more Giuliani than most mayors of New Orleans.

The Times Picayune endorsed Landrieu. and for those who are still interested their analysis seemed fairly balanced, and only slightly in Landrieu's favor.
This newspaper endorsed Mr. Nagin enthusiastically four years ago. Then an executive with Cox Cable, Mr. Nagin vowed to manage city government in an efficient, businesslike manner. Under his leadership, city government improved in a number of nuts-and-bolts ways. His administration put property assessments online and cleared out a backlog of road repairs. He kept taxes down; managed the city treasury well; treated the Aviation Board and the Regional Transit Authority as transportation agencies, not patronage vehicles; and gave federal corruption investigators unprecedented access to City Hall. In short, Mr. Nagin is an honest man who has kept the best interests of the city at heart, and the lack of major scandals within his administration is a great credit to him.
and Landrieu:
Mitch Landrieu would bring liabilities of his own to the job. One is his last name. Mr. Landrieu is capable of dealing with the White House and Congress. But Republicans may be less inclined to work with a mayor from the first family of Democratic politics in Louisiana.

Furthermore, Mr. Landrieu's private-sector experience is not extensive. He was not a strong backer of business-friendly bills in the Legislature. And his current supporters include a long line of former patronage beneficiaries. Nothing in his record indicates whether he can keep them from jostling back up to the trough. A pleaser by nature, Mr. Landrieu seems loath to upset anybody. To be a good mayor, he will have to learn how to be the bearer of bad news.
and finally:
In Saturday's election, voters are fortunate to have a choice between two candidates of good character. But one has the better disposition and drive to rally New Orleanians to their city's cause. Mitch Landrieu is that candidate.
posted by Davenhill at 12:03 AM on May 21, 2006


Well...the Picayune has never been accused of going out on a limb.
posted by Pacheco at 12:10 AM on May 21, 2006


cool! bukharin's link is to the company where i work.

as for the mayor's race: enough, it's done, let's put it behind us and get on with rebuilding this city already.

a little less conversation, a little more action, is what we need.
posted by ab3 at 12:56 AM on May 21, 2006


Isn't Jindal the one who claims he actually talks to Jesus and stuff, like literally sees visions and stuff?

Well now, that really depends on what Jesus is telling him, doesn't it?

Not everybody is gonna get instructions to attack a third-world country. Some might even get told to help the poor.
posted by namespan at 1:13 AM on May 21, 2006


Completely irrelevant sidenote: I went to a street festival in NYC yesterday and because I was wearing my Rebuild New Orleans t shirt, I met two evacuees who are now living here. Both say they won't go back. It made me sad.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:36 AM on May 21, 2006


What has Landrieu specifically achieved post-Katrina to help? Spell it out for us.

Landrieu led the efforts to reorganize and rejuvenate New Orleans' tourism industry post-Katrina. Without him, Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest would not have been the successes they were. He has also been directly involved with business and industry (most notably the movie and biotech industries) and been part of driving investment into New Orleans and Louisiana (both pre and post-Katrina).

And while the potential existed, this election wasn't about race--both candidates had crossover vote in the 20 to 30 percent range. This election also was not about philosophy--as both candidates generally had the same platform. Instead, this was about leadership and getting things done.

I lived with my parents about an hour outside of the city from September through December. I visited frequently in November and December, once the City reopened, and moved back the first of January. From December to late January there was a constant influx of evacuees returning home, and it was really something to be a part of. The crime was still gone, and people were just beaming—ecstatic to be here. They didn't care about grocery stores only being open to 6:00, no fast food, no traffic lights, etc. It was just good to be home. Well, it’s now almost 6 months later, and times are a changing. . .

The crime is coming back, traffic lights are still not working, stores are still open limited hours, and despite the postal service’s “through wind, rain,” mantra, we only started getting regular postal delivery a few weeks ago (they were throwing magazines, bulk mail, second class mail and “whatever else doesn't look important” in the trash until they got the primary sorting facility back online). As things stand now, a bad thunderstorm still wreaks havoc on the city, so I can’t imagine what even a tropical storm would do. If we sustain any hurricane damage this season, I don’t know that people will stay.

Moreover, as this year's hurricane season approaches, Nagin has not instilled confidence in many people. He has a business background and, quite simply, doesn't know how to get things accomplished within the constraints of a beuacracy. He unveiled a new evacuation plan last week that emphasized the use of city busses and Amtrak, but officials from both organizations complained that they were never contacted about the plan. FEMA closed a long-term planning support office in the city a few weeks ago, because the city wasn't doing any planning. It's infuriating.

Landrieu, on the other hand, has worked almost exclusively within a beuacracy and has an outstanding reputation for coalition building. His father was not corrupt, and there has never been a hint of scandal involving any of his family. Conversely, Landrieu has upset people at his unwillingness to fill political appointments and jobs with anything other than the most-qualfied people. I am saddened that New Orleans made the wrong choice yesterday.

Regarless, Nagin is our mayor and I am hopeful that he will take this opportunity to surround himself with capable people (i.e., no more people like Kim Butler, who he appointed as his first CAO). If nothing else, Nagin is not corrupt and he has the best interests of the city at heart. If the billions of dollars of economic impact do show up, we will have only ourselves to blame if we don't recover.
posted by ajr at 6:39 AM on May 21, 2006




Listen, as someone who was there, Nagin may have his faults, but he does get the credit for evacuating the city. Breached levees in New Orleans were long considered the absolute wost disaster that the United States could face, and the estimated casualties from such a thing were placed at 80,000 dead. Because New Orleans was evacuated, the actual dead is significantly below that -- several thousand. Nagin spent the weekend of the impending hurricane on television stressing the importance of leaving the town, telling people what options were available. Our decision to leave came from seeing Nagin on television saying "Leave! Leave!" I'm certain I am not alone in that.

The disaster that followed primarily came about because the hurricane was federalized and FEMA proved to be beyond incompetent, sealing off the city, refusing to allow people to enter or exit, turnign away trucks filled with water, etc. New Orleans post-disaster certainly couldn't be resolved by a local mayor -- it needed to be addressed by an effecient federal system working in conjunction with local government. This hasn't happened.

Priot to Katrina, Nagin was a pretty decent guy. He was trying to do something for the city that it hasn't had in generations -- a thriving economy. Some of his schemes, such as the frequently mocked "Hollywood south" plan to bring filmmakers to New Orleans through tax incentives and training locals to work on films -- were starting to pay off. Film is, after all, a relatively clean enterprise; Hollywood sets up shop for a few months, spends a fortune, and then packs up and leaves, leaving a lot of money behind.

I am no longer a resident of the city, and can't say what's best for it, but picking on Nagin for Katrina seems a little to me like picking on a grade school hall monitor for not resolving a crises when his school catches fire. He didn't have the money, power, experience, or resources to do so. Crises like Katrina are why we have a federal government -- they can't be handled on the local level, and shouldn't.

I keep feeling that poiting fingers at Nagin only serves to distract us from the real culprit here, which would be whoever is supposed to be overseeing things on a federal level, whoever transformed FEMA from a first-rate emergency response organization to an afterthought sandwiched into the Department of Homeland Defense, whoever decided to place an inexperienced yes-man at the helm of FEMA, whoever was warned about the potential for flooding in the city but decided to stay on his Texas ranch on vacation while people were trapped in the city, whoever took the massive amount of federal money made available after the flood and gave it to Texas businesses, who have mishandled the reconstructiom. rather than investing it back into New Orleans. Now who could that be?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:12 AM on May 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


Some insights into Landrieu (and the election) from a former colleauge:

[Twenty years ago,] Mitch wanted two things as far as I could tell: he wanted to marry Cheryl Quirk and have a slew of kids, and he wanted to be the Mayor of New Orleans.
posted by ajr at 9:20 AM on May 21, 2006


That may have been enough before the storm, but now I want to vote for the guy who will beg, borrow, and steal the most for us.

That seems rather short-sighted.

In a situation like this, you want the least corrupt politician to be running things. A corrupt politician will beg, borrow, and steal plenty of reconstruction money, and then keep it for himself and his friends, Halliburton in Iraq style.
posted by delmoi at 9:36 AM on May 21, 2006


Thanks, ajr. But why do newspapers and others say he in fact does do patronage appointments often? And why does he alone get the credit for restoring longtime festivals that pump needed money in? Was there really any question that Jazz Fest and Mardi Gras would die? People would have staged their own versions--with or without him, and with or without the proper permits and authorities--but the city govt would have certainly helped too (which i'm sure they actually did do and were vital).

I'm suprised by what isn't said---that since the tourism money is needed now more than ever, why hasn't Landrieu said that more of the money those things bring in will go directly to rebuilding everything? Or that each corporate sponsor of every event and program, etc, will also match their spending on and for the events to a general rebuilding fund? or anything like that? How many millions do Corporate sponsors give to JazzFest? Who's leaning on them to do something for the city JazzFest happens in? Has Landrieu used his power there and in similar areas to help the city directly? Or to pressure the casinos to do more to give back? etc... Or to use those contacts to specifically help the city get back on its feet? It's obvious the Feds are still not doing enough, nor will they do enough, especially with these incompetent fools in charge.
posted by amberglow at 10:00 AM on May 21, 2006


Also, didn't the restaging of events Landrieu's office was in charge of result in the eviction of those who were living in the hotels? What did he do to help those people hurt by his work to get tourism back up and running before the rest of the city was ready? etc?
posted by amberglow at 10:02 AM on May 21, 2006


But why do newspapers and others say he in fact does do patronage appointments often?

I'm not aware of anyone that has made this allegation. Several people have expressed concerns at Landrieu's stated willingness to work with ex-politicos that have been tainted by allegations of corruption, etc. (specifically, former nola-mayor Marc Morial). One of Landrieu's campaign promises was to establish an advisory panel of former nola mayors and other active mayors from other US cities. Landrieu's response to the complaints evidences his ability to build consensus and unity--he said that he was looking for good ideas from experienced people, and that by choosing to alienate former politicos like Morial he would be inviting divisiveness and back-room politics from the start. Instead, he wanted to keep the activies open and transparent to all with the added benefit of getting buy-in and good ideas (even if they had a less-than-savory origin).

As far as Landrieu's role in Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, I didn't mean to imply that he was solely responsible for their success. I can assure, however, that there were significant questions as to whether or not these events were going to go off. Landrieu was instrumental in assuring that the City was able to handle the influx of tourists and workers necessary to support these events.

I dont' know enough to comment on Landrieu's efforts regarding corporate donations, etc. or his role in evicting those living in hotels.
posted by ajr at 10:30 AM on May 21, 2006


Like a white city electing a KKK member as mayor.
posted by HTuttle at 10:31 AM on May 21, 2006


What has Landrieu specifically achieved post-Katrina to help? Spell it out for us.

The Red Hour.

FESTIVAL! FESTIVAL!

/geek
posted by fandango_matt at 10:55 AM on May 21, 2006


Coldchef, most of the named sources in that article were people who ran against him. I have problems with Nagin, but that read like a hit piece.

coldchef, i love you like no other mefite i haven't met in person. it was because of your words that i took my vacation to go to the gulf coast and work on reconstruction projects. but i gotta say, i so agree with cunninglinguist here. i work in marine science data management. i followed hurricane models about as close as they can be followed, a coworker of mine having run the best and first model to show the actual path. there are seventeen models that have to converge in order to give an accurate picture. within an hour of their convergence on saturday, nagin gave his first order. and within one hour of the nws confirming the severity, nagin gave his mandatory order. there are any number of validations nagin gave the best considered and executed urban evacuation. his only problem there is it turned out not be a false alarm but a real disaster. but i've never seen a politician plugged into the actual hard science of the matter at a critical time. the unfortunate part is hard science today cannot give more than a two day lead time with any certainty upon which to base decisions with such huge social and economic impact.

now, i hear what you are saying about nagin's post-katrina effort. except i don't agree with the philosophy that a city of homeless people, its tax base destroyed, is going to show the most "leadership" in reconstruction beyond holding some parades and a music festival, as big of a victory as those must seem to the people to whom they mean something. the fact is, the reconstruction is held up nationally from the opinions of the 4 out of 5 who believe the gulf coast shouldn't be rebuilt. this goes way beyond new orleans. i went on a survey of the coast for a foundation which mapped in the neighborhood of $500 million to $1 trillion in true reconstruction costs. i believe ever dime of that amount ought to be spent, especially on regional flood control. nagin is going to be just one voice in a chorus if this gets done. singling him out as a poster boy for that failure so far only illustrates the tactic by which new orleans' interests get smeared every time nagin is the focus. in the long term we are going to see the same thing about nagin that we saw pre-katrina, that he did the best considered and executed things he could do in the face of the disaster of american public opinion about how to respond to this crisis.

i'm super happy this election was not a back door for corruption to sneak back in and i don't care how much the names landrieu and daley get a new coat of whitewash. it took so much to get as far with rooting out corruption in louisiana as has been done thus far. my only complaint with nagin is he hasn't fired the entire police department like he did with the inspectors. but i am very happy with the people of new orleans who, despite all the stress they live through, saw through all the media manipulation of their heartstrings and did the right thing on this election. eight months out, things are still shitty in new orleans unless you are in a tourist district. but the strength the people on the gulf coast show in the face of this calamity ought to shame the entire rest of the country for their overall lack of concern and weak response.
posted by 3.2.3 at 11:03 AM on May 21, 2006


Ray Nagin’s famous SOS call focused world attention on Bush’s incompetence, and gave us a peek at evil neocon plans. The mayor’s call for help that didn't come gave us a look behind the neocon’s curtain, and we saw a bungling cruel monster.

Katrina came with several days notice, and after years of warnings about failing levies. Still, Bush let the city drown like a big easy rat. We can only imagine how poorly the administration will handle the next planed surprise attack. One even wonders if a fence on the border will successfully contain us.

What we saw in the Katrina fiasco is why Nagin still attracts so much flack from the Republican hate machine. Propagandist Sean Hannity still sings that dumb-ass school bus song every chance he gets. Anyone with half a brain knows the flooded bus fairytale doesn't float. Indeed, why didn't the good mayor beam poor folks up to his space station, or call in his fleet of Navy rescue ships?

Hopefully Nagin’s small triumph signals a return of American democracy, and portends the coming rout of neocon fascism.
posted by BillyElmore at 11:54 AM on May 21, 2006


here is an intresting analysis from mydd.com
posted by delmoi at 12:26 PM on May 21, 2006


note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand -- not at other members of the site.
Spell it out for us, you fucking jackass.

Enjoy your time off.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 4:54 PM on May 21, 2006


Like a white city electing a KKK member as mayor.

This could not possibly be a worse analogy.

coldchef, i love you like no other mefite i haven't met in person. it was because of your words that i took my vacation to go to the gulf coast and work on reconstruction projects.

I really appreciate that, and I am humbled by it. Thank you so much.

Now that the vote is cast, I can only hope all of you are right and we can move forward now. Though I suggested otherwise previously, to me this wasn't really a case of good vs. bad, but good vs. slightly better. In fact, I spoke to a friend today who works closely with the mayor's office in New Orleans, and he assured me that with both candidates, it was a win/win situation.

He also suggested that the reason why things have not moved further in the ninth ward is that Nagin didn't want to give his constituents the bad news until after the election: those neighborhoods will probably not be rebuilt. Now, Nagin's hands are untied to do the work that needs to be done. It will be a thankless job and a hard one. I wish him the best.
posted by ColdChef at 8:31 PM on May 21, 2006


If Landrieu won the election, this would have been a major victory for the incompetent, corrupt Republican Party. His lossmeans the country might at last begin to change, starting with the 2006 elections. One has to take a measure of hope from this important victory.
posted by Mr. Six at 10:34 PM on May 21, 2006


Like a white city electing a KKK member as mayor.

This non sequitor deserves all the ridicule it will earn.
posted by Mr. Six at 10:36 PM on May 21, 2006


I wish I had done this earlier, but anyway.

I crunched the precinct-by-precinct vote numbers together with the council district demographic stats posted upthread by bukharin.

There's a crapload of data, but here are some interesting points, some of them aren't necessarily a result of the combination of data:
  • Ward 9 and Ward 2 both voted ~70% for Nagin; Ward 4 and 14 both voted ~75% for Landrieu.
  • Very generally, places with more flooding had more votes for Nagin. A very naive estimation based on the flooding/voter demographics indicates that votes were split 50-50 among voters who got less than 4 feet of floodwater, Nagin's 5000 vote margin was basically made up among voters who were under 4+ feet of water.
  • By district, A 64.7% Landrieu, B 51.5% Nagin, C 54.5% Nagin, D 65.3% Nagin, E 70.2% Nagin.
  • There are some loose and tentative correlations between ethnicity and vote, but nothing I'd lose any sleep over. It definitely looks like people hit hard chose Nagin, and to me that seems okay.
Numbers!
posted by blacklite at 11:24 PM on May 21, 2006


Nagin "freaking out" at the state and and especially the federal officials - who were the truly incompetent in the case - did a hell of a lot to raise national and international awareness of the real seriousness of the situation. He was honest, brutally so, about what was happening there. It was what the country needed. I will always respect him for having the bravery to get publically angry, no matter what it did to his image.
posted by jb at 2:45 AM on May 22, 2006


Thanks for the number crunching, blacklite! I'll be emailing those to a few friends.
posted by ColdChef at 10:24 AM on May 22, 2006


Nagin looks to mend divides, push rebuilding of New Orleans

The former cable television executive [Nagin] dismissed threats by some business people who supported Landrieu and said they would leave if Nagin remained in office. "Business people are predators, and if the economic opportunities are here, they're going to stay. If not, they are going to leave," said Nagin, in his now-famous vernacular. "I think there's enough interest around the country that we're going to attract top businesses ... God bless them. I hope they stay but if they don't, I'll send them a postcard."

The vote in Saturday's election split largely along racial lines, but both candidates got about one-fifth crossover vote. Analysts said that boded well for the future of a city where deep racial divides were exposed after Katrina and rebuilding plans raised questions about the future of some predominantly black neighborhoods...."After the Martin Luther King comments and his post-Katrina comments, his political obituary had been written," Lee said. But Nagin won with "an unusual political shotgun marriage between conservative whites and progressive African-Americans," he said.
posted by ColdChef at 10:49 AM on May 22, 2006


Also:
Documenting the 'Great Deluge' of New Orleans
via NPR
posted by ColdChef at 10:53 AM on May 22, 2006


RudePundit: ... But New Orleans is fucked, between bearing the damage of long-term neglect (isn't it time someone realized that doing anything on the cheap, whether it's wars of choice or levees of life support, is just gonna end up fucking over the very people it's supposed to help?) and bearing up for another hurricane season, with a prediction for this year that's pretty much the exact same as last year. New Orleans, that sinful town, now bears the weight of the sins of national incompetence on environmental and urban policies, corporate cronyism, budget cuts and tax cuts, and more. It is a weight that will collapse the Crescent City without the will to put more than a cotton ball on an arterial wound.
posted by amberglow at 3:31 PM on May 22, 2006


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