Ray Nagin, The Blatant Racist.
By Mary Ann Fergus
Tribune staff reporter
Published June 14, 2006
New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin visited Chicago on Tuesday as part of a national tour in which he's calling on "partners" to help re-build his hurricane-ravaged city, a project he estimated could take 7 to 10 years.
"There will be an economic boom like we haven't seen in this country," said Nagin, who was recently re-elected. "This will be the biggest work site in the world."
During a speech at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition's national conference in Rosemont, Nagin criticized the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina and his state's handling of recent municipal elections.
"It exposed the soft underbelly of the United States," Nagin said of Katrina. "It exposed poverty, it exposed racism and it exposed a government that was overwhelmed and was not capable--and is still not capable--of dealing with a disaster of that magnitude."
The hurricane, Nagin said, was an "unimaginable event," one he implied may have been designated by God.
Before Katrina, Nagin said, New Orleans was a city of "haves and have nots," with one of the highest rates of poverty, one of the worst public school systems in the nation and a high percentage of young males involved in crime.
"Then, you know, God looked down on that and said, `You know, I need to change that'," Nagin said. "And then Katrina happened. And in the midst of all that devastation, God is now allowing us to have an opportunity to reset the table, and that was what the election was all about."
Nagin and Rev. Jesse Jackson, president of PUSH, criticized Louisiana's leaders for not allowing displaced New Orleans residents, now living in 44 states, to vote by satellite in the primary and the April run-off election.
"They said basically, the people in the Diaspora really didn't matter," Nagin said. "We don't care if they vote or not because we know there are billions and billions of dollars that are going to come down."
Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco testified in support of a bill for satellite voting throughout the state when it was in danger of not passing, said Roderick Hawkins, her spokesman. That bill passed, but a proposal for satellite voting outside the state did not pass the legislative process, he said.
A federal judge determined three times that it was illegal, said a spokeswoman for the Louisiana secretary of state. An 800-number was posted throughout nine states to help displaced voters from New Orleans get absentee ballots, spokeswoman Jennifer Marusak said.
Nagin won re-election in April with 52 percent of the vote in a race against Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu. Nearly 25,000 people voted by absentee ballot or at satellite polling places across the state.
Nagin's inauguration ceremony this month drew Jackson and other national figures. He said his victory signaled support that he would ensure a city of economic equity.
More than $10 billion in insurance resettlement funds, an equal amount in federal dollars earmarked for homeownership and rental units, and several more billion in investment dollars will flow into the region, Nagin said.
Trying to make light of his controversial call earlier this year for a "chocolate city," Nagin said he's encouraging "all folks" to help rebuild New Orleans.
"My white-chocolate friends, come on down," Nagin said. "My medium-chocolate friends, come on down. And my dark-chocolate friends, definitely come on down."
This man is insane. Doesn't he know that Pres. Bush & Karl Rove were the ones that made hurricane Katrina hit NOLA?
And How the fuck does this man get away with being so obviously racist?
If a white Mayor had used the word "chocolate" in any way to describe the type of people he wanted to work with he'd be sued before he stepped away from the microphone.