Reaction pours in to Nagin's sentence from all corners - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Reaction pours in to Nagin's sentence from all corners


Reaction poured in after former Mayor Ray Nagin learned his prison sentence from a federal judge.

From the city's current mayor to average citizens, they all responded to Nagin's predicament.

Meanwhile, a political analyst addressed the irony of Nagin, who won election as a reformer, now being a convicted felon who must report to prison soon.

"Wow, that's great. I think he needs to go to jail. I'm sorry he's the first mayor indicted in New Orleans history, but you know, it's sad that it's necessary to have to set an example for other people so that corruption is rooted out of our city," said David Ware, as he walked near city hall.

Nagin received a 10 year prison sentence from Judge Ginger Berrigan after being found guilty of a plethora of corruption charges earlier in the year.

"I'm surprised, but I guess that will teach him not to do the things that he did," said Sarah Coleman, another pedestrian in the Central Business District.

Many legal experts expected the judge to bring down the hammer on Nagin by way of a stiffer sentence in the neighborhood of 20 years.

Some on the streets of New Orleans expressed relief that the judge opted for a lower prison term.

"Wow, that was good, that was great," said Nicole Wilson.

"I just think that everybody makes mistakes and I just think his first time offense ever in his entire life. I wasn't a Nagin supporter, you know what happened with Katrina and all that kind of stuff, but I just think that everybody deserves a break," said Madelyn Jones.

Nagin took office as a reformer. By July of 2002, one of his first high profile acts involved a crackdown on corruption at the city's Taxicab Bureau and Vehicle Inspections Unit which resulted in dozens of highly publicized arrests.

"Almost 12 years ago to this date, that raid was initiated. You fast-forward 12 years later and he's convicted and he's going to serve 10 years in federal prison for corruption, the same thing he was inaugurated on, the platform, his signature event, his signature issue," said Political Analyst Silas Lee, Ph.D.

Lee said Nagin's downfall needs to be kept in check as it relates to the city's image.

"One person does not represent democracy. Democracy is not perfect. Yes we will have mis-steps, we will have mistakes. In the state of Illinois, four of the last seven governors have been convicted and served time in federal prison, four of the last seven," stated Lee.

Nagin is blamed by many for the slow pace of the city's recovery after Hurricane Katrina, overwhelmed federal levees and a city was drowned by floodwaters.

"[What] A lot of people overlook in reference to his eight years as mayor is that he kept the city out of bankruptcy after Katrina," said Lee.

At city hall, several New Orleans city council members said they did not think it would be appropriate for them to comment on Nagin's sentencing. However, Mayor Mitch Landrieu did issue a statement.

"Today marks the end of a sad chapter for our city. The people of New Orleans are turning the page and moving forward," Landrieu's prepared statement reads.

"For a businessman, for someone as successful as he is, that's a harsh, very harsh penalty, that's basically the end of his life," said Ware.

"This will be his legacy. His political and personal and professional biography will end with this footnote that he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in a federal prison," said Lee.

Former Mayor Marc Morial, who resides in the Northeast as he leads the National Urban League, also put out a statement in the hours that followed Nagin's appearance in court.

"Justice has been served for the wrongdoing committed, and this matter can finally be put behind us. The biggest tragedy in this day is that it is a reminder of the corrosion of trust and misuse of power that are counter to the ideals of public service. I pray for my city, and I have supreme confidence in the people of New Orleans to move forward in a positive and productive way - with grace, perseverance and dignity. New Orleans has a history of greatness, and our future will follow in that tradition," Morial said.

Nagin succeeded Morial as mayor of New Orleans.

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