Our former Mayor Ray Nagin is back in the news. Perhaps you heard.
My initial reaction is almost.....dread. Not again.
Truthfully, I just don't love seeing his name and face all over the news anymore, no matter the specifics of the storyline.
That was a bad time. It's nothing like now. Maybe I just don't like to be reminded.
The bizarre behavior. The self-entitlement. The demagoguery and rancor. The stillbirth of recovery.
The racial divide.
It was a very bad time.
Nagin's petulant indifference to the city's rebirth was his biggest crime in my book.
The Feds are now looking into different criminal allegations: perks, graft, freebies and general misuse of public – and private - funds, goods and services.
They're one in the same. Nagin's overnight transformation from congenial, self-anointed reformer to....to, what – Celebrity? Kook? Power broker? - was what turned him away from New Orleans and into himself at a most inauspicious time.
He made a lot of new friends in the Aftermath. They came bearing gifts.
In the end, looks like the sucka got played. It has all the appearance of seduction by power, jets, islands, fame. Seduction by guys far sleazier – and wiser to the game – than Ray Nagin.
Many of them are in jail now, or on their way.
Is that to be C. Ray's fate?
Hard to say. Harder to prove – all of it.
Either way, sad story all around. For him. For his family.
Nagin's gestures of greed and power came at a time both when this town was on its knees and when it was about to seize all of greatness at once and rise up.
That's the most onerous part of this story, Nero fiddling while Rome.....drowns.
In the end, it was a recovery deferred, not defeated.
For rise up, we did. We have. We are.