Having lived much of my life in Louisiana and with family still living there, I’ve stayed attuned to politics there (it’s a sort of blood sport in Louisiana). It is therefore with much satisfaction that I read today that our old “buddy” Ray Nagin is finally getting (some) of what should be coming to him.
Karma’s a bitch, ain’t it Ray?
Ray Nagin was the Mayor of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the city in 2005. My son had a retail business in the French Quarter at the time and was driven out of the city by the oncoming storm. We all watched as Mayor Nagin (and Governor Kathleen Blanco) heaped the blame for the city’s destruction on President Bush.
In the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina, hundreds of buses were sitting in bus yards, some less than a mile from the Superdome.
And yet, we’ve all seen the pictures showing that Nagin left 550 municipal buses and 254 usable school buses sitting idle when they were supposed to be used to evacuate the city – according to the city’s disaster preparedness plans.
The following is a quote from a radio interview on WWL-AM shortly after the hurricane hit: Mayor Nagin said, “I need 500 buses, man. We ain’t talking about — you know, one of the briefings we had, they were talking about getting public school bus drivers to come down here and bus people out here. I’m like, ‘You got to be kidding me. This is a national disaster. Get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans.’“
When, all the while, over 700 buses were available if Nagin had just asked about them.
He’s also the same racist scumbag politician who declared that New Orleans would recover and would return to being a “chocolate city” again – referring to blacks being in the majority in the city as they were prior to Katrina.
Well, it looks like ol’ “chocolate Ray” is finally getting his comeuppance.
Those of us interested in Louisiana politics also remember how he denounced previous city officials and campaigned against a “New Orleans culture of corruption” when he was running for Mayor in 2002.
And now …
He was convicted on February 12, 2015 of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from businessmen who wanted work from the city or Nagin’s support for various projects. He was found guilty on 20 of 21 charges.
US district judge Helen Berrigan handed down the sentence this past Wednesday morning, July 8th.
Nagin was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his conviction on bribery, money laundering and other corruption charges. Prosecutors said the actions for which he was convicted spanned his two terms as mayor – including the chaotic years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005.
There’s always a certain amount of satisfaction I feel when a politician, supposedly masquerading as a “public servant” finally gets what’s coming to them, like William Jefferson, Representative from Louisiana who was sentenced to 13 years for bribery in 2009. Remember him? He’s the guy who had $90,000 stashed away in his freezer (the FBI’s money from a sting).
And how could we forget former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards, who served a total of 16 years in the Governor’s Mansion. He was convicted of racketeering and spent 8 years in federal prison. He was released in 2011.
Yes, Louisiana has a tradition of corruption in politics, but it’s not alone and it’s not likely to change until we start putting more of our “public servants” behind bars when they violate the public trust.
It’s only my opinion, but I think that we should start with Barack Obama, accompanied by a new TV show, “Orange on a New Black.”
Followed shortly thereafter by Hillary Clinton in a Federal prison with cameo appearances on “The Good (for nothing) Wife,” “Game of Crones,” and “True Defective.”