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New Orleans Mayor Interview

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin gives an extraordinary interview to WWL-AM, a New Orleans radio station. He’s extremely critical of the disaster response thus far, and offers a number of details that aren’t being widely discussed about the situation in Louisiana. It’s worth your time to listen to it.

Mayor Nagin, in part, calls on politicians to stop giving press conferences until resources are flowing into New Orleans. There seems to be an increasing frustration with politicians who aren’t on the scene and are going through the usual political niceties. CNN’s Anderson Cooper recently lost his cool while talking with Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu. She begins her remarks (from Baton Rouge) with thanks to President Bush, former President Clinton, the Senate… and Cooper cut her off to tell her about the dead bodies he’s seen in New Orleans being eaten by rats. (CNN prevents me from linking directly to the video, but you can find it by going to their homepage, clicking the “more video picks” tab in the “watch free video” section, and watching “Senator Grilled”.)

Cooper regains his cool as Senator Landrieu reassured viewers of her sadness and love of New Orleans, but there’s a clear emotional disconnect between Cooper, who’s seeing scene after horrific scene and expects a sense of immediacy from the Senator… and her decision to continue playing by the rules of media and politics. Not a must-see as the Nagin interview is, but interesting nevertheless.

Xeni at BoingBoing writes about a similar (all too rare) moment, where our media does its job – asking hard questions of politicians. NPR’s Robert Siegel interviewed Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff on NPR’s “All Things Considered”, asking Chertoff to comment on the situation at the New Orleans Convention Center. Chertoff attempts to dismiss the situation at the Convention Center as a “rumor”, and Siegel defends the account given by his reporter, who is on the scene interviewing refugees. You can listen to the exchange on NPR’s site.

Update: CNN (CNN?!) talks about the contradictions statements by FEMA and DHS officials and the reports of people closer to the situation in New Orleans in a piece called The Big Disconnect on New Orleans.

9 thoughts on “New Orleans Mayor Interview”

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  4. Sounds like Nagin is trying to deflect attention from his own failings. This is the same Mayor Nagin that held up 30 relief boats several days ago that were sent from the governor because of his concerns about ‘jurisdiction’. Yeah – let’s have the lawyers settle the issues while people are dying…

  5. I have to say, I totally feel AC on this one but Landrieu would have been insane to be anything but polite. She’s a junior, minor senator with very little base. I wouldn’t blame her for grovelling now and kicking ass later.

  6. I really get sick of seeing all the cameras taking pictures and the reporters yammering away as people are screaming in the background. Put down the da- cameras and mics, pitch in and help!!
    At least Harry Conik was in there and getting bottled water and food.
    It is not a race/socio-economic/political issue. It is AN AMERICAN ISSUE!!

  7. I understand the dissapoitment of the mayor and people of Luisiana.
    But for the mayor to be critical about the response, he should also be citical about himself, how he handled the evacuation on his city before being hit by katrina, everyone knew that’s was coming two days in advance, and it was a sure thing for them, his city should have been evacuate tottaly, it shouldn’t be optional for the citizens,and the city should have provided transportation to people that had no money for gas or cars, o lot of problems wouldn’t exesist if he as head of his city had done his part! so don’t just sit on his tail and blame others.
    anyway the ones to suffer is and always will the poor and less fortunate in this case, happens to be the blacks, it is not a problem of race but economical.
    good lucky people of Luisiana, unfortunatly is to late o undone what happened there, but it is not too late to make it right now, so we as Americans should Demand from our gov. ACTION NOW STAT!

  8. The Mayor of New Orleans Is 100% right!!! We can invade IRAQ but we cant invade the city of New Orleans!!! Hell— Now we have Fidel Castro offering to send 1100 doctors into New Orleans. This is a disgrace.

    Now I am a white soccor mom. I am here to tell you — If that a bunch of soccor moms out there instead of the poorest of the poor– I do think the response whould have more forceful — and sooner.

    The Leadership at the FEDERAL LEVEL– is an absolute disaster. I hope this country sees this now!!

  9. Boy, no shortage of opinions here. I’ll have to check this interview with Mayor Nagin out myself.

    I agree with the commenter who stated that “this is not a Black/White issue, this is an American issue…” to the extent that to use the Race Card in a time of emergency like this is stupid, selfish, and wrong. I’m an African-American by the way, and I say that it is really stupid and you might light some fires that you can’t put out later. I see all kinds of people trying to help; all races, creeds, colors, religions, etc.

    We need a united country in there doing all that it can to help survivors get out and begin the cleanup and start the recovery and rebuilding. We need help from our friends around the world, including the Cubans and anyone else that can offer something postive without a lot of political or idealogical strings attached. I guess that makes the rebuilding of lives along the Gulf Coast a global issue, as all natural disasters of this scale should be.

    Cut the BS and get busy, America.

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