Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Nagin Billboard

"Get off your ass and get down here to fix the goddamn biggest disaster in the nation's history." - Ray Nagin

Those of you not in LA may not be following this but the mayoral race in New Orleans has gone to a run-off: Landrieu, the challenger vs. Nagin, the incumbent. There are a number of things that I find interesting about this at the moment:
  1. The racial make-up of this city has changed drastically due to the exodus that accompanied Katrina. If Landrieu wins the election (May 20th), he will be the first white mayor of New Orleans since his father held the office in the 1970s.
  2. The last white mayor of New Orleans was named "Moon." That's right, Moon Landrieu.
  3. "Fewer than half the city's 455,000 residents have returned since Katrina devastated the city in August; most of those still scattered around the country are black." Isn't that crazy?
  4. Carlee and I drove into Houston for a wedding a few weeks ago. Check out the billboard we saw in Houston (image above). How many mayoral races have their been where billboards in different cities and different states appeal to people to vote for a mayor in another city? Pretty amazing. It just goes to show how much of a relocation has occurred due to this catastrophe.
  5. Ok. It was Maurice. But his nickname was Moon.

1 comment:

Retired said...

The scariest part of the election is the 2 candidates in the run off!!!!!!

-Nagin is the mayor who left the city with his family and failed to use the cities transportation system to evacuate its residents which resulted in around 1000 deaths.

-Landrieu is as you pointed out a member of a family deeply rooted in Louisiana "good ole boy" politics which has resulted in a city and state with faulty levees, a crippled economy, and so many unorganized government organizations that in a time of crisis no one has any clear idea of who is in charge or who has clear control.

I was there in the middle of things immediately after the storm and it was frightening. Things were so far out of control that ordinarily civilized people were in a desperate survival mode and abandoned all normal sense of right and wrong. We were warned before entering the city by the makeshift law enforcement not to enter the city unless we were “armed and prepared to use them”. I felt as if we were issued a license to kill or at the very least a license to defend ourselves by any means necessary. Our original motives were to help as many people as possible when we headed towards NOLA with our flat bottom boat. After seeing the desperate chaos that has still yet to be reported accurately our motives rapidly became selfish. NOLA was like Baghdad after the fall of Saddam. The city was destroyed; there was no law enforcement, rampant looting, murder, and panic everywhere.

It is easy for us to all sit back in our comfortable homes with our relatively organized and secure lifestyles. What we do not see on TV is the years of corrupt and decaying local and state government whose policies have created and manipulated this dependent class of people who were abandoned in their hour of need. Both Nagin and Landrieu are guilty of rampant selfish political manipulation. Once again Louisiana is faced with having to choose between the lesser of 2 evils. I could rant for hours about the inefficiencies of our government and the need for reform but until we, as the citizens of this state, put the right people in the right places we will never be free of our national stigma and more importantly our citizens will never be free to produce for themselves.