- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
- U.N. rights chief: Flight MH17 downing possible war crime
- Attack on park in Gaza war kills 10, mostly children
New Orleans mayor no Giuliani
Question of the Day
The leadership skills of New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin have been put to the ultimate test this week, a test some critics say he is failing as his storm-ravaged city descends into chaos, violence, looting and despair.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune’s Web site has become a clearinghouse for residents of the Crescent City to communicate with their neighbors, and many are taking the opportunity to express frustration with their mayor.
“Where are you?” one person asked on the Web site. “Be a man and take care of your people.”
Another person said he liked Mr. Nagin but wondered, “Where is command central? Can we get some sort of plan, any plan, other than busing the refugees from dome to dome?”
Mr. Nagin, a former cable TV executive, was elected three years ago at the age of 45 after promising to reverse the city’s reputation for corruption. Now, he finds himself saying things about his city that he never could have dreamed possible.
“We’re not even dealing with dead bodies,” he said of his instructions to rescue workers Tuesday. “They’re just pushing them on the side.”
In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Nagin even excused looting — until nonessential items started turning up in people’s shopping carts.
“It’s really difficult because my opinion of the looting is it started with people running out of food, and you can’t really argue with that too much,” he said. “Then it escalated to this kind of mass chaos where people are taking electronic stuff and all that.”
Three years ago, Mr. Nagin boasted of turning around one of Cox Communications’ most underperforming cable franchises, serving as chairman of the United Negro College Fund’s Walkathon fundraising campaign and being elected president of the 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans.
Today, he is trying to shepherd the only large city in America that has experienced such shocking destruction and death — save New York City on September 11. Some commentators are panning Mr. Nagin’s performance compared with that of Rudolph W. Giuliani, who was universally praised for his disaster response in New York.
“On television this week, the mayor has shown no clear inclination to take charge and direct post-Katrina rescue and recovery efforts for his population, as Mayor Giuliani did in New York after 9/11,” wrote Nicole Gelina, a columnist for New York’s City Journal.
However, the criticism was not universal.
“A fellow Louisianian wants all of you over in the New Orleans area to know just how much you all are in our thoughts and continued prayers,” a supporter of Mr. Nagin’s wrote on the Times-Picayune Web site. “I know New Orleans will bounce back. We in Louisiana always do. Mayor Nagin, great job.”
The mayor is not just a leader of the suffering. He is among them. The name of his cousin, Brad Nagin, is among those listed on an Internet board of missing residents of New Orleans.
By Scott Pinsker
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- D.C. police chief orders officers not to arrest legal gun owners carrying weapons in public
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Babson College, BYU win top spots in Money magazine's college rankings
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- Family of Marine killed in Afghanistan pushes back against cover-up
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- DeSean Jackson working on offensive cohesiveness with Redskins teammates
- Ohio sheriff sends bill to Mexico for cost of jailing illegals
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq