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Forget Chocolate, Let's Talk About Housing

Ray Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans, has been in the news almost daily since August 29th. Before the storms, he would've received a decent grade for his first term as mayor. He was new to politics and won the only election he'd ever run in to become the city's leader. He brought a businessman's approach to the management of New Orleans which was quite different from the years of cronyism that ruled City Hall. I like Nagin. He's always spoken his mind and eschewed the careful and empty rhetoric of career politicians.

Many people in New Orleans share Nagin's concern that New Orleans will become a less diverse place post-Katrina. It's unfortunate that he expressed his feelings using the term "Chocolate City" in conjunction with comments about God's displeasure being channeled through hurricanes. I think fatigue and his speechifying style all caught up with him that day.

I worry that many African-Americans who were evacuated in the crazed days after Katrina cannot return even if they do want to. The extended families consisting of relatives and friends that many New Orleanians relied on, whether white or black, are dispersed so camping out with someone else is not possible for many people and reasonably-priced housing options are scarce for everyone.

Nagin's comments on Martin Luther King's birthday and the accompanying media hoopla diverted attention from the real issue: Decent and affordable places for people who want to live here will be an ongoing problem in New Orleans for years to come.

The etymology of Nagin's "Chocolate City."


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 29th, 2006 07:05 am (UTC)
I find the comments as interesting as the article. I've always liked Nagin, voted for him, and thought he was doing as well as anyone could in the aftermath of Katrina. I even understood what he was trying to say, in a very bad way. New Orleans was racially predominatly black pre-katrina and I think he was reacting to the accusations they are trying not to rebuild the lower 9th to keep the black majority from coming back. I also think he needs a valium and a long nap.
Jan. 29th, 2006 07:46 am (UTC)
My first thought when I heard about the speech was that Nagin must be so tired after these hectic, horrible months. We should send him a homemade gift coupon for "a valium and a long nap" with the option for repeats as needed. :-)
Jan. 29th, 2006 08:10 am (UTC)
I can't even imagine what he's going through, what they are all going through. I realize people want stuff done now, heck, so do I, but it must just be so darn overwhelming.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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