Corruption stigma sticks to Louisiana - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Corruption stigma sticks to Louisiana

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New Orleans, La - Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is now facing 21 Federal charges including wire fraud, bribery and money laundering. The news is more fuel for a stigma of corruption that Louisiana can't seem to shake. Nagin joins a long list of public leaders to face trouble with the government.

Political Analyst Dr. Silas Lee says there's a renewed in government in terms of prosecuting officials who violate the public trust. He says that renewed effort is taking place across the country. When it comes to politics and problems, he says Louisiana is certainly not alone. "The state of Illinois had three governors in the past 35 years who were convicted and sent to Federal prison," said Lee. "Then there are several other states Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Tennessee to name a few."

But for Louisiana, the stigma of corruption seems to stick. "The stereotype of the state makes good folklore, for good entertainment discussion, but it doesn't necessarily reflect reality," said Lee.

He says characters in Louisiana's cast of corruption have helped to keep the stories in the spotlight. "Especially with former Governor Edwin Edwards," said Lee. "He was very flamboyant. 60 Minutes did a story on him."

Louisiana's only four term governor spent years in prison for corruption. Now he's preparing for his new reality show with his new wife.

Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard pleaded guilty to corruption in 2012 and had these parting words. "I came into politics as a dragon slayer. At 63 years old, I'm going out as a dragon."

Over the years, several others have fallen from grace. Former city council members Oliver Thomas, Renee Gill Pratt and Jon Johnson, as well as Former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson. All fell in a cloud of corruption. It remains to be seen if Ray Nagin, another high profile in Louisiana politics, is next.

"We also have to remember that under our system of law you are innocent until proven guilty," added Lee. "But when you look at the history of the U.S. Attorneys office and the charges, they are very serious and unfortunately this is going to be the political legacy of former Mayor Nagin. He is the first mayor, former mayor to be indicted and charged with corruption."

Nagin's arraignment is set for January 31st.

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