“How am I gonna stand up and say, ‘I’m a vagina-friendly Mayor’ to these cameras after ‘Chocolate City’ and some of the other stuff that I’ve done, but you know what? I’m in…. So, I stand before you, a vagina-friendly Mayor. I am in.” — Mayor Ray Nagin, March 7, 2008
March 12, 2008…Last week marked the latest episode of the longest running political show in Louisiana, “The Nagin-a Chronicles.” On Friday, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin welcomed the creator of the Vagina Monologues to New Orleans to promote “V-Day” in the city next month. As usual, the Mayor used the opportunity to create controversy and make a foolish remark. Nagin said it twice to convince everyone of his cleverness and make sure that no one missed his sexual single entendre. To say the Mayor of “Chocolate City” has a juvenile sense of humor would be too kind. Of course, the problem is that he is the chief spokesman for a major American city.
“The Nagina Chronicles” has at least two more years of production until the end of Mayor Nagin’s term, when he exits City Hall. So, look for him as a civil rights leader, an author or talk show host, Tavis Smiley watch out!
Unfortunately for Nagin, the reviews for his show have been brutal. While some appreciate the broad strokes of humor, most critics claim that Mr. Mayor has been an embarrassment, a disappointment, totally inept, needlessly controversial and almost always ineffective.
Here are some of the highest rated episodes of this now familiar program:
1) Mayor Ray “Na-Gun” Strikes a Pose. In this episode, Mayor “Na-Gun” showed his interest in high tech weaponry by playing Rambo and pointing an M-4 rifle at his Police Chief, albeit briefly, at a news conference heralding additional firepower for the New Orleans police. This scene was photographed and sent around the world for all to marvel at the “expert” weapon handling of Mayor “Na-Gun.” By sheer coincidence, this episode aired while crime stats were released showing New Orleans with a major increase in violent crime, retaining its title of Murder Capital of the nation, which, according to the Mayor, is sort of a good thing because it helps keep “the brand out there.” Just last year, Na-Gun appeared at a crime march claiming that battling murder would be his number one priority. Alas, that promise was not kept probably because there were too many episodes of “The Nagina Chronicles” to produce.
2) Mayor Ray “Na-Gone” Gets Testy. In this episode, the Mayor exploded in rage during a WWL-TV interview, upset at the airing of an expose highlighting his relaxed schedule and travel itinerary. “Na-Gone” shouted that he wanted a one-on-one with the News Director in the parking lot and that he would “cold cock” anyone who approached him the wrong way. The report showed that “Na-Gone” travels extensively to locations far and wide. He barely ever worked on Fridays and seemed to have an aversion to meeting with legislators or the City Council. When he did travel, he often created a stir. Before visiting New York, Nagin called the hallowed 9-11 site “a hole in the ground,” which was not the best comment to win friends and influence people, but it sure made news.
3) Mayor “Willy Wonka” Reassures Chocolate Voters. In this infamous episode, set at a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Rally, Mayor “Wonka” channeled God, blasted people living in Uptown and promised that New Orleans would forever be a “Chocolate City.” When he realized the gravity of his statement, Nagin claimed that he was only citing the 1975 funk classic by George Clinton. Of course it was very interesting that he would be inspired to relive the song during an impassioned speech at a MLK, Jr. rally.
In a city known for Mardi Gras with the nickname “The City that Care Forgot” it is not surprising that voters initially elected a crazy character like Nagin. The Mayor is comical, ridiculous and a laughingstock across the country. His antics give local commentators great material. Nagin brings the mockery on himself he must secretly crave the attention and the exposure, as almost every day he figures out new and creative ways to generate press coverage.
Does this man have a speechwriter? Does he care what he says or how it reflects on New Orleans? The answer to both questions must be a resounding “No!”
“The Nagin-a Chronicles” continue, the top-billed political show in Louisiana, now that Edwin Edwards is in jail, “Dollar Bill” Jefferson is getting ready for trial and the Longs have passed away.
While Nagin plays the fool and says outrageous things to stir the pot, huge stretches of New Orleans remain destroyed and untouched 30 months after Katrina. About 40% of its citizens have still not returned to New Orleans. Unfortunately, the criminals and the incompetent politicians have returned, but not enough of the law abiding and tax paying citizens who can make New Orleans a prosperous city once again.
Nagin is the poster child for incompetence and buffoonery. The real “V-Day” will occur when he leaves office, two long years away. Until then, the follies will roll on and the audience for this tiresome act, the citizens, will continue to suffer from the poor reviews. The joke is on the people Nagin claims to represent, the citizens who voted him into office.