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King Nagin

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I agree with Rep. Pete King, (R-NY), for perhaps the first time:

Ray Nagin needs to shut up.

CNN reported Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans who recently won a close re-election bid, is known for "his blunt style." That is at best an understatement and at worst an amazing softball toss at a man who proudly proclaimed that New Orleans would be "a chocolate city" once again after the reconstruction efforts.

In a recent interview with 60 Minutes, CBS' Byron Pitts asked questions about washed away houses on public streets and flooded cars that remained scattered about the city. These were pointed questions, and yes, they were meant to put Nagin on his toes, and perhaps Pitts knew and even hoped Nagin would respond emotionally.

And he did.

"You guys in New York can’t get a hole in the ground fixed and it’s five years later. So let’s be fair."

What's fair is fair, and Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters in American history. It took far too many lives and displaced far too many more. Mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, grandparents and children died, and nobody disputes that or downplays that disaster.

Nagin, however, took the issue too far and accused the country of ignoring the people's plight in New Orleans and like a third grader who thinks his toy isn't as good as his neighbor's toy, accused New York of not being able to clean up its own "hole in the ground" caused by the World Trade Center crashing into the earth on September 11, 2001.

This isn't the first time King has spoken out on the subject of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans to the press. In 2005, he noted armed gangs were blocking relief efforts and attacking rescue workers.

Nagin's recent comments contribute to his already tarnished national image. King spoke to the CBS Radio Network today calling the comments disgraceful. CBS.com's readers have also been quick to come out against Nagin, and a sense of outrage is clearly readable on the pages.

"My problem is that yes 80% of New Orleans flooded, mostly poor blacks, but 100% of St Bernard parish flooded, white middleclass. You hear nothing of St. Bernard. I lost my car (we left in one), my house was under 24 feet of water, as was my job, which is gone now too, and I took one suitcase of clothes for each of us, thats it." — "lbarca"

"Mayor Nagin needs a dose of reality. If blame was a pie his slice of blame is the largest, then the Parish, then the State, then the Federal Government.
Most of rebuilding problems right now are due to their two hundred year history of local government corruption." — "hdav06"

"I am sick and tired of hearing about New Orleans! It was one city that was messed up by Katrina. Three Quarters of the State of Mississippi was devestated! (sic) Mr Nagin, I hope you are reading this. Don't tell me you did not know what was about to happen to your city…I heard the comment made by GOV. Blanco when asked why was Mississippi leaps and bounds ahead of Louisiana in the clean up effort; her comment was, "Mississippi did not have as much damage as New Orleans." Are you kidding me?!?!?!? Mississippi is ahead in the clean up effort because we have done something about it. We have not sat and waited for someone else to do it, nor have we played the blame game" – "ArmySapper1"

As more and more mainstream media outlets allow their readers to comment on their stories, we are beginning to see real debate take place over the news. This ability to discuss the news often results in over-inflated comments and out and out ranting, but even that shows that, if nothing else, people do care about what goes on around them.

CBS is quick to put a plainly-worded disclaimer above their public comments section:

Now you're in the public comment zone. What follows is not CBS News stuff; it comes from other people and we don't vouch for it.

When you anger people who have passionate feelings one way or the other, they will talk. When the Internet provides these same people with the concrete wall of anonymity, they yell.

Nagin, however, has been slow to heed the warning signs.

But then, he's already won re-election.

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  • Don Kennon

    Do you remember New Orleans ‘Katrina’ mayor Ray Nagin? The one that
    tried to teach 1,200 buses to swim while his citizen’s drowned? Once
    again, he has demonstrated his ability to deal with hard realities.

    According to The New Orleans Times Picayune there were 50,000 vehicles
    ruined in Katrina and abandoned by their owners.

    The largest auto crusher east of the Rockies, K&L Auto Crushers of
    Tyler,Texas offered to pay the City of New Orleans $100.00 per vehicle, ‘as is, where is’, an estimated $5 million net to the city. They agreed to bring in 5 to 10 portable crushers, work 6 days per week and complete the job in 15 weeks.

    Of course, mayor Nagin knew better how to do the job and refused the
    offer saying the city would do the job themselves. It seems that now it will cost the City $23 million to complete the job. The vehicles are still there today instead of being cleaned! d out 5 months ago.

    Now, lets see if I have this correct. By doing it J&L’s way the City of New Orleans would net $5 million. Doing it Mayor Nagin’s way costs the city $23 million for a net cost to the City of New Orleans of $28,000,000.

    This is the same mayor that wants The United States taxpayers to give
    $50 billion to New Orleans and let him rebuild a “Chocolate City” his
    way without any oversight or any control. Brit Hume reported this on Fox News. This is a true story… verified on snopes.com

  • JP

    I’m from the place, and I can’t stand what he’s done for (to) the city’s reputation. Far more damage–shockingly, I might add–than Bush could ever pull off.

  • Ray Nagin is a disgrace. I can’t believe this incompetent was re-elected…

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    We better all be hoping Ernesto stays south of New Orleans, or Nagin will need another 50 bill.

    Of course if New Orleans floods again, the American people will much more likely interpret it as a sign that Bush needs to go home, than a sign of god’s rath against the U.S. for legalized abortion, as Pat Robertson would have it…but hopefully Ernesto wills steer south into S. Texas or Mexico where the ground is higher and there are less people or dissipate but that doesnt look likely.

  • If New Orleans gets hit again the American people SHOULD interpret it as a sign that it’s a stupid fucking idea to build a city in a coastal river delta below sea level and protected by levees.


  • I’m sure everyone in the Netherlands would agree with you Dave…

  • Ah, but how many hurricanes make it to the Netherlands?

    Plus the Netherlands may be low, but it’s a much more stable area and it’s been built up and dyked better and for longer. And they DO still have major problems there.


  • Is that a lesbian joke? That sounds like a lesbian joke! Damned hetrosexuals!

  • K Larabee

    Nagin (along with many NO residents btw) rightly points out what NO ONE is talking about. That the federal government moved swiftly and quite generously to set up college funds, mortgage payments, and other financial help for New York. And many victims’ families there already had insurance, investments, and very nice, expensive suburban homes (that are still standing, by the way).

    By contrast, it tooks *days* before Congress would even discuss any money for NO at all, and then you had people like Dennis Hastert publicly asking “Why bother?” To criticize NO’s recovery after one year while NYC still struggles after 5 – and with more kinds of federal aid – IS unfair.

  • Clavos

    Dave and Jet,

    Two spelling issues: :>)

    Jet is right in #8, Dave. Though all reports indicate that the Netherlands is home to a lot of dykes, they have nothing to do with keeping it dry. That job is left to the dikes.

    And Jet, Is a hetrosexual anything like a metrosexual?. As a heterosexual, I’ve been wondering.

    A completely unrelated side issue: It pisses me off that here in Miami, on the phone, you have to “press 1 for English”.

    Rant over. Thanks.

    (need more coffee…I’ve really lost it this time…)

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Bad news for NO + the gulf coast this morning, NHC cannot foresee any inhibitor’s to Ernesto’s strength once it reaches the western carribean and gulf of mexico. The official forecast track takes it to a few hundred miles south of NO in 5 days, heading north. However, there is some uncertainty and the hurricane, now TS, will probably hit somewhere between the FL panhandle and Houston. The NHC takes it to 115 mph winds in 5 days, but notes this estimate will be conservative if wind sheer is as light as forecast.

  • Clavos

    According to the 1100 EDT Discussion (#8) and track map, it definitely doesn’t look good for N’Awlins.

    But as you pointed out, PETI, the Discussion says that the forecast beyond 72 hours is problematic (uncertain).

    Let’s hope that the UKMET forecast model is the right one this time.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    #9, didnt you hear? People that are killed by terrorists are 10X more important than people killed by silly little rain storms.

    How interesting to note that our national attention is entirely absorbed by the threat of a few arabs sneaking in and killing people, when the number of preventable deaths by natural disastors exceeds that figure a thousand fold. The press and politics are bloated with images and speeches about how different the world is since 9/11, how great the threat is, when this threat is miniscule in comparison to the threat of natural disastors. Something smell fishy here? A political agenda perhaps…

  • Clavos


    A political agenda perhaps…

    I don’t think so. Preventing deaths from natural disasters isn’t sexy enough to campaign on in an election year.

    That’s all the agenda I see.

  • There may be a lot of junk in New Orleans, but in Germany there’s still a lot of dead Jews.


  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Fortunately for NO, but at the expense of FL, it seems Ernesto has reformed it’s center farther northward and this has resulted in the forecast track shifting a few hundred miles east into the FL panhandle. The track is still uncertain however past 72hrs and any other slight changes could shift the landfall back towards NO. And watch out Clavos, the GFS went for a loop and took Ernesto straight into the main peninsula of FL. It still appears Ernesto will be a dangerous hurricane with winds conservatively predicted to be 120mph in 120 hours (5 days) from now.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Do you mean to say Clavos, that politicians dont use terrorism for political gain? Look at any poll, terrorism is one of the main motivating factors in voting for the GOP and to think republican politicians don’t know that and promote that fear when it suits them is just asking to be lied to.

  • Clavos

    Don’t worry, PETI, when one is out there and close by, I have the NOAA NHC website semi-permanently on one of my Firefox tabs. But, at this point, it looks like my brother-in-law in Pensacola has more to worry about than I do.

    BTW, yesterday was the one year anniversary of Katrina here in FL. I live in Aventura, NE of Miami (but same metro area). Katrina was only Cat 1 when she blew through here, but we wound up with the eye right over Aventura. I happened to be outside when the eye came through–it was very interesting.

  • Clavos

    PETI #17:

    What I meant was, preventing deaths due to natural disasters is just plain BORING, it’s not going to get the electorate’s attention. I don’t believe they’d use it even if they didn’t have terrorism to scare-monger with.

    That’s what I meant about not sexy enough. Remember, since Kennedy/Nixon, it’s all on TV, and that means it’s got to be attention-grabbing, not too complex, and easily explained in sound bites. It’s characteristic of the pols on both sides, not just the Republicans.

    Preparing for disasters doesn’t do that; sometimes, not even for those in harm’s way. Prior to Andrew, nobody here in South Florida paid much attention to approaching hurricanes, for example.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Was it actually clear, or just no rain and lighter out? I remember that there was no eye on satellite imagery but it was visible on radar, so i figured it wasnt blue skies, or was it?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Please Excuse interrupts the thread with,”

    “How interesting to note that our national attention is entirely absorbed by the threat of a few arabs sneaking in and killing people, when the number of preventable deaths by natural disastors exceeds that figure a thousand fold. The press and politics are bloated with images and speeches about how different the world is since 9/11, how great the threat is, when this threat is miniscule in comparison to the threat of natural disastors. Something smell fishy here? A political agenda perhaps…”

    There were a number of interesting reports of explosions of the levies after Katrina had almost “passed” New Orleans. The reliability of the reports is a little hard to document, but it appears that a lot of fishy things have been going on with protecting/destroying New Orleans.

    The storm season is back and a serious storm is threatening again… In the midst of the storm, I would expect more fishy things to occur.

    The issue is not that New Orleans is in the wrong place. The central part of the city isn’t. But the building around the center of the city has been. But ask someone who has lived there for more details…

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    That should have been levees, folks, not levies. But the tax levies that were supposed to modernize the levees were diverted elsewhere – to Iraq.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Ruvy, if I understand correctly the center of NO is below sea level. The levees broke. Hence the stupidity of building a city below sea level without adequate protection, as Dave and I pointed out. If you’re implying the buildings outside the levees are at greater risk, I beg to differ because unlike NO they will drain naturally after the storm passes, and they are on higher ground.

    As for the explosions of the levees, that’s bull. It’s well documented that the backsides of the levees eroded and collapsed because of splash over and that this did as you say happen after the storm passed. This makes perfect sense to anyone with an understanding of meteorology. As the storm passed water was pushed east into Lake P. raising the water level. After it had passed the winds in Lake P. switched to the north, pushing the surge and winds towards NO leading to the topping of the levees.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Watch out Clavos, the 5am advisory took it into Tampa and now the 11am advisory is taking across the keys and then crossing FL south of Tampa. I think they’re having a hard time with this one. Fortunately for the U.S. it’s crossing almost the length of Cuba for a full day and may not have time to restrengthen as it brushes and eventually hits FL, much like Charley. However, it’s slower speed may allow for more strengthening, and higher surge.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Correction to #23, “pushed west (not east) into Lake P.”

  • Clavos

    Good morning, PETI,

    Re #20: You really were watching closely, weren’t you?

    You’re right: it was a very atypical eye (at least I think it was atypical–even though I’ve experienced about 15 hurricanes, ranging in intensity from a brush-by to fullblown Cat 3 winds over the years, this was my first eye).

    As I said earlier, I was outside talking to my neighbor at the time the eye passed through.

    The winds dropped rapidly (a minute or so) to about 3-5 MPH, the rain slackened to a mist, the sky lightened, but remained thinly overcast overhead, and there was no obvious eyewall at first, though the wall did begin to appear as time went on.

    My neighbor’s also been through a lot of these storms, but neither of us recognized at first what was going on–it just wasn’t what we expected. After a couple of minutes, his wife came out to tell us that they had just said on TV that we were in the eye.

    It lasted about 20-25 minutes, and when the backside of the storm hit, it was MUCH worse than the front side had been, which we were expecting.

    All in all, a very interesting experience.

  • Clavos

    Actually, PETI, Ruvy’s right to the extent that the oldest part of the city (don’t know if it’s the center or not, but it includes much of the French Quarter) WAS built on higher ground, logically enough. It’s a very small area which comprised the first few acres of what was then only a village.

    It was only when the original village began to grow that building began to take place in the areas below sea level.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Actually, PETI, when the center of NO was built, the center was the city. Some of it was on high ground and some on lower ground, but the bottom line is that the swamps around the city provided a certain protection from cyclones. But when a lot of the swamps were drained away, and suburbs built in their place, that protection slipped away, and the entire metropolitan area became the sitting duck it still is.

    I would like to believe that the explosions took place, but until I get better proof from somewhere that they did, they are just uncomfired, albeit interesting reports. What is not bull was that the state and local authorities had plans to modernize and strengthen the levees, plans that were to be federally funded. But the money got sunk in a different swamp a lot closer to (my) home – Iraq.

  • Clavos

    Ruvy, I have a friend who rode out Katrina on his boat, docked about 200 yards from the 17th St. breach. He tells me there was no explosion there.

    He did say that once the breach happened, there was a hell of a current flowing through the area, as all that water rushed to the break.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Lol.. Clavos did you actually ask him if there was an explosion or are you just assuming he would have mentioned a terrorist attack on NO if he saw it? Considering there were, unfortunately, 10s of thousands of residents and many reporters in NO which “only” experienced winds up to 75 or 80mph in isolated areas, I think someone would have said something if the levees were blown up.

    If they keep botching the Ernesto forecast like this it’s going to be missing FL entirely and passing to the east over the Bahamas. All 12 advisories since 5pm EDT thurday have shifted the forecast track to the east, some as much as 250 miles, except the 5am EDT Friday advisory which budged it a couple miles west. And the thing continues to wobble dozens of miles northeast of their expectations even today. Im tellin ya Clavos, watch out!

  • Clavos

    I called and asked him after I saw Ruvy’s post. He laughed, then said he didn’t hear anything like that, but had heard the rumors. He doesn’t know anyone who can confirm.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    haha, I can’t believe you actually called!

  • Clavos

    Yeah, he couldn’t either. But I owed him a call anyway, so what the heck.

    Did they show Max Mayfield’s 1700 news conference in your area? Poor guy looked very uncomfortable with his lack of hard data to present to the press.

    Bottom line was he really didn’t know where Ernesto’s going next.

    Oh well, we’ll see what the 2300 advisory has to say.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    O my, surprise surprise, another eastward ajustment!

  • Clavos

    Yep. We’re pretty certain for tropical storm force winds by Tuesday night, with outer bands here by Tuesday midday. Only a complete breakup over Cuba can change that.

    If he stays west of us, they’ll mostly be out of the south (with initial easterlies possible), which is good for me. Have to see what the 0800 shows. In any case, I’ve got a lot of work to do tomorrow.

  • Clavos

    Re 35: That should have been 0500, obviously.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    What on earth have you been doing to the water down there Clavos??? Stations in the keys are reporting water temps as high as 91.4 degrees!!! (Most were 89 or 90).

  • Clavos

    Yeah, that’s right, for August. We don’t go to the beach in the summer because of that (well, I used to when I was your age, but it was to make out, not swim).

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Looking at satellite loops…Ernesto still seems to be wobbling northeast of their projections, which means it might cross a narrower part of Cuba and hit much closer to you Clavos. It is hard to make out the center but it seemed almost to reform on the northern side of the southwest peninsula of Haiti.

  • Clavos

    There’s a new low forming north and east of here which the experts say may slide southwestward and give Ernie a bump westward. We’ll see what happens during the night.

    In any case, NHC doesn’t think he’ll be more than cat 1 if he comes straight here–he’s likely to lose strength again when he hits Castroland, and the Straits of Florida are not as warm as the surrounding waters because of the Gulf Stream.

  • I’d really like to see it go to New Orleans just to see what happens.


  • Clavos

    As of 0500 EDT, Ernesto is aiming straight at Miami, with landfall expected in about 48 hours at an intensity of up to cat 3. Right now, he’s over Cuba with winds at 45 MPH.

    That’s the NHC advisory discussion. Ernie still has to deal with the mountains of Fidelia. The trough coming from the NW could push him further east, which would put MIA on the “clean” side of the storm. Last night’s low I mentioned in #40 isn’t developing much–probably won’t be a factor.

    Time to start diggin’ the foxholes…

  • Nancy

    Last I heard it had been downgraded to a tropical storm, what gives with that? Is it back up to hurricane strength?

    Pity they couldn’t pit Nagin’s hot air against the hurricane as a mitigating force to break it up.

  • Clavos

    Not yet, Nancy, but it will be once it gets back over the water.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Damn what was the chance of this Clavos? A couple days ago we were joking about it hitting you. And even if it does stay a little offshore, it could still be bad as it approaches from the south giving you east to northeast on shore winds. Although personally I think the intensity forecast is too agressive since it’s going to be coming off Cuba a depression and the pressure is already up to 1006mb and it will need 12-24 hrs just to get its act together. My guess is it makes 75mph just offshore of FL.

  • Clavos


    The forward motion has almost stopped (currently about 2 MPH), which means that interaction with the castroland land mass is increasingly becoming a major factor in terms of his intensity when he gets here. IF he gets here as a full-blown (pun intended) storm.

    I’m gonna stick my neck out here, and say that the possibility of ol’ Ernie being only CAT 1 or less by the time he arrives is getting better by the hour.

    That’s not NHC info–just a Clavos gut call.

  • Nancy

    How bad will even a “little” cat.1 hurricane be for the gulf coast?

  • Clavos

    Depends where it hits, at what tidal state, land elevation, which side of the storm you’re in–in short, lots of variables.

    E.g. most barrier islands are at considerable risk, while mainlands (NO excepted) are less so.

    The FL panhandle and TX coast are much better able to withstand a CAT 1 than the area that was so devastated by Katrina (and Katrina was a CAT 3 at landfall), which we all know by now is exceedingly low elevation–BELOW sea level in most of NO.

  • Nancy

    So getting back to the original subject, what is Nagin doing at the moment? Any more smartass remarks, or has he taken to his bunker somewhere on higher ground?

  • Clavos


    I’m pleased to tell you (I’m sure you already know) that my forecast in #46 was accurate.

    I just saw one of the reporters on TV make a big deal about a large puddle (not a flood) on a street in Key Largo.

    Where I am (NE Miami), it’s just now (1830EDT) started to rain, and the wind is 15-17 Kts out of the east. According to the “all hurricane, all the time” broadcast on TV, this is going to be about it for this area.

    Let’s see what Ernesto does after he exits back into the Atlantic.