Mayor Ray Nagin Apologizes:

The AP reports (thanks to reader Dan Schmutter for the pointer):

Mayor Ray Nagin apologized Tuesday for a Martin Luther King Day speech in which he predicted that New Orleans would be a "chocolate" city once more and asserted that "God was mad at America."

"I said some things that were totally inappropriate.... It shouldn't have happened," Nagin said, explaining he was caught up in the moment as he spoke to mostly black spectators, many of them fearful of being shut out of the city's rebuilding.

During the speech Monday, Nagin, who is black, said that the hurricanes that hit the nation in quick succession were a sign of God's anger toward the United States and toward black communities, too, for their violence and infighting. He also said New Orleans has to be a mostly black city again because "it's the way God wants it to be."

On Tuesday, Nagin said his comments about God were inappropriate and stemmed from a private conversation he had with a minister earlier. "I need to be more sensitive and more aware of what I'm saying," he said.

The mayor said his speech was really meant to convey that blacks were a vital part of New Orleans' history and culture and should be encouraged to return. "I want everyone to be welcome in New Orleans -- black, white, Asian, everybody," he said.

Nagin said the other main point he had hoped to make Monday was that when blacks do return, they must work to stamp out the crime and political infighting that have held them back....

[Ed Renwick, the director of Loyola University's Institute of Politics said of the remarks,] "It seemed to be another Nagin-being-Nagin. He has a penchant for just speaking off the cuff and not thinking it through.... He also tends to speak to the literal audience he's with at the time instead of the whole world he reaches through the TV, radio and print media."

Very glad to hear about -- and to report -- the Mayor's apology.

cirby (mail):
Too bad it took him two tries before he managed to mutter the true answer.
1.17.2006 5:13pm
Hunter McDaniel (mail):
Sounds like Nagin might even mean it, unlike most apologies we see from political figures.

Trent Lott would still be majority leader today if he had apologized this promptly.
1.17.2006 5:18pm
The guy is still an idiot and should be out of a job.
1.17.2006 5:49pm
Mr Diablo:
Good apology for that poorly-worded rant about racial make-up of the city after it is rebuilt, and ludicrous Pat Robertson-style discussion of god and punishment.

Now if he could just find his voice to tell business interests and the White House, in a firm but professional tone, that there is no way that he is going to stand for forced relocation of African-Americans by development and political means. Forced relocation due to economic ability and race in the aftermath of this disaster is unacceptable.
1.17.2006 6:11pm
Fishbane (mail):
The guy is still an idiot and should be out of a job.

Then can you explain why why so many people in New Orleans (Republican and Democrat) like and vote for him?
1.17.2006 6:34pm
cirby (mail):
Then can you explain why why so many people in New Orleans (Republican and Democrat) like and vote for him?

"Liked" and "voted," nowadays. Pre-hurricane, having an idiot for a Mayor wasn't seen as that much of a liability.

I haven't met anyone from New Orleans who will even pretend to like Nagin, now. Ditto for that idiot Governor of theirs.
1.17.2006 6:45pm
Steve P. (mail):
Getting upset at his original words is a luxury that those of us with a home can partake in. I'm guessing most people that are important in this case (his constituents, who can vote for someone else next time around) don't much care right now. I'd even suggest that many residents wouldn't care if he called them 'pink fairies' so long as he did his part in pulling in assistance.

That said, he made a stupid and racist comment, tried to laugh it off, and then finally apologized. All in all, a political gaffe with few likely repercussions (but I could be mistaken).
1.17.2006 6:47pm
Then can you explain why why so many people in New Orleans (Republican and Democrat) like and vote for him?

Because voters, generally, are also idiots and ignorant? See, e.g., the 2000 and 2004 election. This is a bipartisan problem.
1.17.2006 6:58pm
Mac (mail):
Mr. Diablo,

Heaven forbid that anyone would prevent poor, black people from moving back to the bottom of a soup bowl surrounded by water where they can get wiped out again in the next hurricaine that comes along.
1.17.2006 7:22pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
So Ed Renwick says that the racist Nagin comments are just Nagin being Nagin. Well that makes it all OK then.

Says the "Dog"
1.17.2006 7:34pm
Cornellian (mail):
They should have elected Bobby Jindal for governor instead.
1.17.2006 7:39pm
Smithy (mail):
Mayor Nagin should be sued for libel by the white residents of New Orleans. What he said was disgraceful, simply disgraceful. I thought for a minute he was going to say something about running "honkies" out of the city.

How could a white person ever feel safe and welcome in New Orleans after this? I know that I will never go there again, though I will miss the oysters and beignets.
1.17.2006 7:52pm
Bottomfish (mail):
No matter what you think of Nagin's statements about the flooding as God's punishment of blacks, he was speaking before a mostly black audience and there is no indication of immediate disapproval of what he said. It took a whole day for him to register his change of mind. He expressed himself in a superstitious way, but there is no evidence that he was not speaking his mind the first time.

Quite likely, a lot of blacks are disappointed about the continued violence and infighting in black communities. Most victims of ghetto crime are black. But a pall of political correctness descends over all, and Nagin apologizes.
1.17.2006 8:17pm
Mr Diablo:
Hey Mac,

Not to repeat things we heard over and over again back in September, but do you think that America would leave a wealthy white city so unprotected?

New Orleans will be flood-proof next time around, especially if it is whiter than the voters who got Nagin elected the first time.

(For all of you who seem to know nothing about Nagin aside from the color of his skin: He ran HARD against the Democratic establishment, against the crony-system, as an independent, and needed white votes to win election.)

Smithy, please don't go to New Orleans. Especially during Mardi Gras, when the French Quarter is essentially a convention of white drunk college students.
1.17.2006 9:13pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
I think it's bigger news that Hillary is sticking to her guns.
1.17.2006 9:28pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
There is such a thing as 'white chocolate"
1.17.2006 11:19pm
Ken Arromdee:
It seems to me that "these comments were inappropriate" and "I need to be more sensitive" are carefully chosen words that only say that he should have avoided *speaking* about those things, not that he doesn't *believe* them. And the belief is really what's offensive.
1.18.2006 3:35am
Georgia Tom:
Not to repeat things we heard over and over again back in September, but do you think that America would leave a wealthy white city so unprotected?

Actually if you'll do the research, you'll find that some of the worst flooded areas in New Orleans were in northwestern neighborhoods which are overwhelmingly white. Neighborhoods like Lakeview, Lakewood, and West End are have a population that's in excess of 90% white, has an average income level above national average, and in many places were flood to a level of 10 feet.
1.18.2006 8:36am
jannelsen (mail):
So, Chocolate City is verboten. How is it then that Mayor Rosa Russon Jervolina can rattle on about her city always being Neopolitan?
1.18.2006 1:48pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Montgomery Alabama is referred to as "Monkey Town" by OTC drivers, a quite accurate description.
1.18.2006 11:01pm
Mac (mail):
Mr. Diablo,
You seem to have missed the "news" that just as many white people, if not more, got flooded as black people even though New Orleans is 63% black. Another "oopsies" by the MSM. And, if you don't like Pat Robertson's rant about God and punishment, what do you think about Ray Nagin's rant about God and punishment? His is brilliant, why? And, exactly what has the Federal Government done to protect Seattle, a wealthy white city, from a tsunami or an earthquake or a volcanic eruption for that matter? You must have enormous faith in the US Government. Why haven't they stopped tornadoes in the Red States? If you build your house on a cliff, it may come down, if you build your house on the ocean, it may get blown away. If you are surrounded by water and build BELOW sea level, you may get flooded. And, if you think the Federal Govrnment can stop all these things, then I suggest you see Pat Robertson. But, you never said why rebuilding below sea level is the kind and compassionate thing to do? Except for a belief that the Fed's can prevent Mother Nature from wrecking havoc. Can you provide some examples of this that would make this argument any more plausible that Robertson's and Nagin's re God's punishment, please? Bush has had a few other things on his plate since he took office, why didn't Clinton, a Southerner, do something about the levees in New Orleans? Hell, why didn't the politicians in La. do something about the levees except steal all the money to repair them in the last 40 years? Oh, you can throw the environmentalists in there as they prevented work being done in the 90's under Clinton because they don't want anyone living there. (I can get you information re the actual court case, if you want) I don't really know who amazes me more, Pat Robertson and Ray Nagin with God's wrath, or you with the Government can prevent all natural disaters. By the way, the Feds are the 3rd responder. Local officials are the 1st responder, State, the 2nd responder, the Feds are the 3rd responder. Before you rant against that, do you really want to wait for a bunch of beurocrats from DC to get through security in DC, not to mention ticketing to get to your area before any action is taken? Having been face to face with a forest fire 3+ years ago, I don't wnat to.
1.19.2006 1:36am