R. Reese Fuller

Louisiana Weekly blasts Nagin

by R. Reese Fuller

Last week in a television interview with WWL in New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin complained about the media's constant scrutiny of him. "It's crossed the line," he said. "It's gotten personal now." Nagin blamed the media for fueling the blogs of "the most vile and angry people." The mayor said a number of things, including that if anyone approached him in a threatening manner, he would "cold cock" them. "You can come with that foolishness if you want, but you’ll see a side of Ray Nagin that you haven’t seen."

On Monday, The Louisiana Weekly , which covers "the interests of Louisiana's African-American community," responded to Nagin's remarks. Edmund W. Lewis, editor of the 81-year-old publication takes Nagin to task on several fronts. The entire editorial deserves a complete reading to appreciate it in context, but here's some highlights from it:

New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin declared last week that he is sick and tired of being treated unfairly by some members of the community. Alert the media and cue the violins.

This is a song the honest, hard-working people of this great city have heard over and over and over. But while the mayor may have thrown down the gauntlet and declared that he is sick and tired, perhaps his fatigue will help him to better relate to the many residents of this city who have been sick and tired of being sick and tired of the glaring ineptitude, lunacy and sheer ineffectiveness local, state and federal elected officials have exhibited since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.

We've had it too, Mr. Mayor. ...

Quite frankly, when it comes to dealing with the media, the mayor is his own worst enemy. Rather than pull up and apologize for the many asinine remarks he's made over the years - including the "Chocolate City," NYC "hole in the ground," the boneheaded statement about violent crime keeping "the New Orleans brand" out there and comments about Philadelphia's alleged dirty streets - he chooses instead to dig in and suggest that someone is always picking on him.

He used that victimhood angle to convince displaced residents that The Man was out to get him when it was time for re-election, even though The Man handpicked him and took him from last place to first place in the mayoral race in a flash. ...

As King Creole of Antebellum Disney, the Pied-Piper of It-Wasn't-Me Politics and the unadulterated mayor of Chocolate City, one would think Ray Nagin might have developed a thicker skin from his countless tussles with the media and others who are less than thrilled with his performance in office.

Try as he or she might to create distance between their public and private lives, there's no way for any elected official to completely prevent one from spilling over into the other. Nor can anyone who acts on their political ambitions and insists upon speaking his mind even though he knows that it has consistently gotten him into trouble expect anyone to feel sorry for him. ...

It the mayor wants to know what tired is, he should try working from sun up to sundown to recover from Hurricane Katrina and returning home at the end of the day to fight with FEMA, insurance companies and Road Home officials.

The stress and criticism he encounters over the course of what appears to be comparatively short days comes with the territory. We beg your pardon, Mr. Mayor. We never promised you a rose garden.

Read the editorial, "Let it go, Mr. Mayor. "