Wednesday, January 18, 2006

This is a pretty good piece on Ray Nagin from a local lawyer.

He was basically a black Republican before he ran for mayor, his first elected office.
As for his chocolate comment, most people Uptown including me were ticked off.
But the background is this: the Bring Back New Orleans commission was studying plans for redeveloping the city and recommended that harder hit areas (Gentilly, Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans East, Broadmoor and Lakeview)-- which are basically lower lying areas, should have a four month moratorium on development until the FEMA maps come out and people will know what they have to do to qualify for flood insurance.
At the meeting this met with very angry denunciations from both white speakers from Lakeview and black speakers from the lower nine. (It also met with a more interesting nuanced response from political boss and businessman Sherman Copelin, who represents New Orleans East.)
There is a feeling in the black diaspora that there's a plot among white residents in New Orleans to keep black residents from returning. (How that jibes with the same moratorium being proposed fro mostly white Lakeview, I don't know. But conspiracy theory is a substitute for thought.)
Nagin was already on the outs with parts of this community, and I think he was pandering to that base, and was pretty damned awkward about it to boot.
He was faking it up like a preacher when he really doesn't ever talk like that, and by referencing Uptown he really played into the conspiracy theory paranoia that's already out there. As one guy said, he stuck his foot in his mouth and then he shot himself in the foot.
New Orleans was about 2/3's black before Katrina, and I believe it will be majority black within a year, but with a substantial Hispanic and white minority. None of the more hysterical predictions or reactions about the city will come true.
Nagin will probably survive this unless a really formidable Democratic candidate comes along. He owned the white vote in teh last election; he's done all eh can to alienate it with this statement, but in the end I think unless Mitch Landrieu steps in , Nagin will win. If he really wants it... If we really have an election...
And that's how uncertain things are here on a late January day in the city that care forgot.


Carson W. Maxwell said...

I echo your sentiments, but hope, for the sake of each New Orleanean, that Nagin will not be re-elected. We need someone who actually knows what he or she is doing, and is not reliant on a band of inexperienced executive cronies. Nagin may have been good for what little he was good at, but we don’t need the trivial any longer.

We have come to expect corruption and indolence our elected officials. If one appears to be less dishonest than former officeholders, he or she can do no wrong, regardless of how ineffective the leadership qualities possessed might be. As voters, we aim high, knowing that our bullet will fall far below our intended target. Unfortunately, Nagin has never offered any concrete evidence to bolster our confidence as electoral marksmen. C'est la vie.

Carson W. Maxwell

RK said...

who do you like?
I know Mitch Landrieu and consider him the best candidate likely to run.

Carson W. Maxwell said...

I'm not sure who I'll throw my support behind. Mitch is capable and seems to be on-the-ball. I think he’s gubernatorial-quality. I hope any decision he makes is weighed against a possible run for governor when Blanco’s time in office runs out (the next election).

I haven’t ruled out Peggy Wilson, and I heard that Ron Foreman is also considering a run for office. Foreman has some political ties that I’m rather leery of, but I’d be willing to hear his platform.

I think choosing a person this early, without hearing individual platforms, would be doing the city a great disservice; however, I do know that I won’t be casting my vote for a certain shiny-crowned incumbent.

RK said...

I couldn't vote for Peggy Wilson because her performanceo on the city council was purely obstructionist. I doubt Forman will run if Landrieu does.
I doubt Landrieu would run for mayor and then turn around and run for governor. Mayor of New Orleans is a dead end job in Louisiana historically. So it would be something of a sacrifice for him, but maybe not.

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Rodger Kamenetz is an award-winning poet and author. He wrote the landmark international bestseller The Jew in the Lotus and the National Jewish Book Award-winning Stalking Elijah. His five books of poetry include The Lowercase Jew --he has been called “the most formidable of the Jewish-American poets”. His memoir, Terra Infirma, has been described as “the most beautiful book ever written about a mother and son.”

            His 2007 book, The History of Last Night's Dream, was featured on Oprah Winfrey's Soul Series. Kamenetz takes us on an historical tour of dreaming from Genesis to now, and shows how dreams have been misinterpreted. He then shows how dreams can be used today to reveal the truth of the soul.

In 2010 came Burnt Books: Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav and Franz Kafka, a dual biography published by Schocken and Nextbook Press.

  Rodger lives in New Orleans where he divides his time between working with dream clients and writing poetry. He is married to fiction writer Moira Crone  and is the father of Anya Kamenetz (author of Generation Debt) and Kezia Kamenetz.


Rodger Kamenetz is Professor Emeritus at Louisiana State  University where he was the Sternberg Honors Professor and LSU Distinguished Professor. He held a dual appointment as a Professor in the Department of English and in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. He is the founding director of LSU's highly successful MFA program in Creative Writing, and the founding director of the Jewish Studies Program. His students have gone on to successful writing careers, among them poets Martha Serpas, Virgil Suarez, Mark Yakich and Anthony Kelman and fiction writers Olympia Vernon, Ronlyn Domingue, Laurie Lynn Drummond,and Connie Porter. He holds a B.A. from Yale College and graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins and Stanford Universities.