Regular readers will recall my long series of posts made during and after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. I was involved in the relief effort at the time, and gathered together many of the experiences and ‘lessons learned’ by myself and others in an effort to make them available to those who might go through something similar in future. Many people have called them ‘essential reading’ to prepare for any natural disaster – and perhaps a few man-made ones, too. I think they’re certainly among my most useful articles.
Now CNBC is preparing to show a documentary on New Orleans’ mayor at the time, Ray Nagin, as part of its ‘American Greed‘ series. I loathed the man. He failed utterly to prepare for the hurricane’s arrival, leaving tens of thousands of people in the lurch through his administration’s inefficiency. He then turned corrupt during the rebuilding effort, taking kickbacks, obstructing those who were trying to work without graft, and generally treating the place as his personal fiefdom. I wasn’t in the least surprised when he was arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to ten years imprisonment for his crimes. Of course, we had to wait for the Federal courts to do that . . . he controlled the local criminal justice system well enough to make sure he didn’t get into trouble there.
Here’s the trailer for the documentary.
I urge you to watch it, if you have access to CNBC. Nagin and those like him (and there were, and still are, many corrupt officials in New Orleans, both elected and appointed) are the city’s biggest problem. (For example, the New Orleans Police Department still has the unhappy distinction of being the only PD in the country to have had two of its officers incarcerated on Death Row simultaneously.) To this day, I’d put New Orleans in the same league with Chicago, St. Louis and other hell-holes of corruption. It’s a very sad thing that the citizens of that city can’t seem to elect honest politicians who’ll clean up the place. It’s long overdue.