Category Archives: Race

Storyville 2006/1990 Repeat

Sun, 21 May 2006 05:00:00

“To some of the folks who went on the other side   you went to the red light district.  I forgive you.” The Reverend C Ray Nagin 5/20/2006

The one good thing about this election is that it’s over. The people have spoken and they may be nuts but they have spoken. Let’s start with the good news: there will be 4 new members of the city council and I won’t have the Queen Of Hearts Jay Batty and Renee Gill-Pratfall to kick around any more. That’s the glass is half full part of this post.

Here’s the glass is half empty bit: C Ray was re-elected. Mitch ran a valiant if overly polite campaign but I think he was done in by things beyond his control. A tip of the hat to Jeffrey of the Library Chronicles for his prescient post about identity politics and how it would enable C Ray to win. Jeffrey was right.

Another key to C Ray’s victory was that he got out of the way and allowed his veteran campaign consultant Jim Carvin to run the show during the runoff. Carvin was instrumental in stage managing C Ray’s subtle message of fear and in helping Nagin to assemble his weirdo coalition. One component was conservative whites who hate the Landrieus and don’t care for black folks either but think of C Ray as “one of the good ones.” Another component was black people who were worried that THE MAN was about to take away their hold on power in New Orleans. As proven by Presidents Beavis in 2004 and Tricky Dick in 1972 fear of change and of the other is a very powerful electoral tool.

C Ray’s victory speech was typically bizarre. He started by quotin’ scriptures and later startled his audience by thanking President Bush for his help. Yes folks it was Oyster-Adrastos theory time. I heard a few people in the crowd gasp but C Ray boogied on in his ADD way.

There was one part of C Ray’s speech that was an in yo’ face shot at Landrieu supporters. That’s right the quote that began this post: …you went to the red light district.  I forgive you. Gee Ray thanks a lot but you’re sounding a bit too much like dangerblond for comfort. Some of us went to Storyville willingly and are proud to be whores…

Finally C Ray’s victory tonight is eerily reminiscent of Sidney Barthelemy’s 1990 re-election campaign win. (Jim Carvin also worked for Sidney. So much for C Ray being purer than Caesar’s wife.) In 1986 Sidney ran against my good buddy Dollar Bill Jefferson. Sidney was elected by a coalition of middle class blacks and white voters just like C Ray in 2002. As Mayor Sidney was if anything even more incompetent than C Ray. Scary no? In 1990 lawyer and civic activist Donald Mintz ran against Sidney. Donald was an outstanding candidate: smart   articulate and a staunch liberal. He was also probably too much of a gentleman for his own good. Sound familiar? Sidney was able to whip up fears in the black community that THE MAN was coming and was re-elected by the same people who opposed him 4 years earlier. History alas has repeated itself. I was hoping that the crisis would break the pattern but it did not. Debrisville has a long history of tolerating incompetence which the voters just extended for another 4 years.

EPILOGUE: Sidney Barthelemy’s second term was even worse than his first: crime exploded and the city continued its decline. The main difference between C Ray and Sidney is that C Ray isn’t  perceived to be corrupt.  Otherwise the parallels are eerie. <cueing the theme from The Twilight Zone>

THE GANG OF 19: ACT TWO

Fri, 17 Mar 2006 17:17:58

I threatened to give y’all more of my impressions and I don’t make empty threats.

Baldest Candidate: This is a close race but C Ray is the only one who shaves his pate so he gets the edge. The also-rans: Mitch Landrieu Rob (The Jerk) Couhig Leo Watermeier and the Indian Guy.

Conversation With God Award: There are a  boatload of candidates who seem to talk to the big fella all the time: Crazy Kim Mad Marie and C Ray but the winner is Norbert Rome. Mr. Rome informed the audience that he not only was told by Jahweh that he should run for Mayor but that Crazy Kim was there when it happened. I like it when the candidates get along…

The Mardi Gras Is A Pagan Festival Award: Also goes to Norbert Rome who is not a Baptist preacher he just sounds like one. Rome delivered a fairly lengthy harangue about Carnival’s homage to pagan gods. It was most amusing since I’m old pagan stock myself. Mr. Rome also declared that his first act as Mayor would be to pray. If he is somehow elected Mayor I’ll say a few prayers of deliverance myself to Bacchus…

Worst Recycled Campaign Cliche: 
Peggy Wilson kept trying to be the Ronald Reagan of NOLA politics by denouncing “Welfare Queens.” I prefer Oliver’s term “soap opera watchers” myself.  Hmm I wonder if Peggy’s campaign will adopt Neil Young’s “Welfare Mothers” as her campaign theme song? It has the catchy refrain:  Welfare mothers make better lovers…

Goofiest Campaign Cliche: Gorilla Ron Forman told us that he’s been dreaming for 33 years and that he’s “a dreamer and a doer.” Thanks for sharing Ronbo. I hope you wake up some time soon…

The Helen Reddy Memorial Award
: Goes to Mad Marie Galatas who informed the crowd that it’s time for a woman to be Mayor of Crazytown. Maybe so but we don’t need a crazy woman as Mayor to follow the crazy incumbent. Btw I’m not sure if Helen Reddy is still alive and I’m too lazy to google her.

A Suggestion For The Arts Candidate: James Arey is the self-proclaimed arts candidate. Here’s my suggestion: subsidize local bloggers; espescially those of Greek ancestry. It’s our turn to wallow in the public troth. Hey if Bishop Paul Morton. Rev. Tom Watson and Uncle Glen Haydel can be on the payroll why not  those of us who dwell in the blogosphere?

Only Male Candidate To Get A “Guy Hug” From Cranky Norman Award:
The winner is my boy Manny Chevrolet Bruno. A “guy hug” is when a manly man grasps another man’s shoulder and squeezes it lightly. Norman obviously got a kick out of Manny Chevrolet’s witty answers and rewarded the candidate with a firm handshake followed by a “guy hug.” You da Manny…

The Serious Bit: There was only a bit of race baiting last night but it reached its apogee with who else that notorious black racist Rev. Tom Watson. Watson made the astonishing assertion that he would reinstate the sensitivity training regimen proposed and quickly abandoned last summer by then NOPD Chief Eddie Compass. Why was it dropped? It was to be run by Dennis Muhammad of the Nation Of Islam; a protege of Mr. Sensitive himself Louis Farrakhan. That’s right the nation’s leading anti-semite and the man widely suspected by among others the Shabazz family of planning the assassination of Malcolm X.

After hearing this bombshell I quickly scrawled a question in the hopes that it would be asked in the audience question portion but it was not. I hope someone will have the cojones to ask Watson to clarify and expand upon his answer. Hey at least it proves that Watson won’t pander to the members of Temple Sinai which was the site of the forum. He’ll repulse and repel them but not pander to them…

And The Winners Are:  The organizers of the event and moderator Norman Robinson who pulled off a fairly coherent and highly entertaining forum despite having a small army of candidates onstage.

The Unholy Trinity: Crazy Kim, C Ray & Oliver

Tue, 07 Mar 2006 16:33:51

That’s just a catchy title. As y’all know I like Oliver Thomas but I do think he should have stuck to his guns and not backed down just because he’s a nice guy. I should ask Mike Hammer to advise Oliver on being a hard ass. On with the circus:

Item-1 Crazy Kim and The Judges: As everyone knows Crazy Kim is in the slammer today. Neither she nor her lawyer was willing to apologize to the Judges until AFTER they sentenced her to jail. Her lawyer should also be jailed for contempt AND for giving Kimba preposterous legal advice. Repeat after me: malpractice. I cannot believe that they stood up in front of a panel of Judges and the best they could come up with was: I changed my mind and I didn’t want to do it. Even after hearing these ridiculous arguments Judge Johnson gave her every chance to avoid jail. The whole thing was about publicity and drama.

The irony is that before pulling her nutty antics Crazy Kim might have had a case against the merits of the Supreme Court’s ordering her to appoint Ed Lombard to deal with FEMA. It’s not clear if they can tell her how to run her office. This sorry episode illustrates why we need to combine the two clerks offices and make the sole clerk of courts an appointive civil service position. The Judges should run their courts not some wild-eyed crazy politician. We also should make the registrar of voters the chief elections officer in the parish. There’s no logical reason that the clerk of criminal court should run elections. Welcome to pre-K Crazytown y’all.

Item-2 C Ray- They Don’t Look Like Us: Yes folks that’s a direct quote from C Ray to a group of African-American exiles in Houston. He’s describing most of the rest of the Mayoral candidates. You don’t have to be a Repub to pose the following question: what if Peggy Wilson or Mitch Landrieu went to the Rex Den or Boston club and said the same thing about C Ray? They’d be pilloried and rightly so.

C Ray has obviously decided that playing divide and conquer is the only way he can get re-elected. I think that dealing the race card from the bottom of the deck is a mistake. It probably forfeits any chance C Ray had of regaining the goodwill he had  pre-K. Then he was looking at a landslide re-election victory without a serious challenger. He used to be that popular. I think a better strategy would be to admit mistakes say he’s learned from them and remind people how much they liked him on 8/28/05.

C Ray may eke out a victory this way BUT look at what has happened to a certain President’s support this year. In both 2002 and 2004 the Bushies demonized vilified and lied about their opponents. They dried up the reservoir of goodwill that US Presidents usually have for Presidents of either party. Now Bush’s approval ratings are between 34% to 39% in the polls and headed lower towards Carter/Nixon/Truman country. That’s the poisoned fruit of Earl Rove of Turd Blossom’s scorched earth tactics and if C Ray is re-elected taking the low road he’ll face the same sort of problems.

Something else that bothers me is that the local press has ducked his latest controversy; they’re back in booster mode. BUT there is one exception: Ace Picayune political columnist Stephanie Grace tackles the issue head-on. Way to go Stephanie.

As always a musical reference springs to mind the Peter Gabriel classic “Not One Of Us.” No no no you’re not one of us. I wonder if C Ray sings this tune to his Repub magnate friends like Joe Cannizzaro and Boysie Bollinger…

Item-3 Oliver Twisted? Council Prez Oliver Thomas addressed the same group C Ray spoke to and expressed regret over using the term “soap opera watchers” about projects residents. But his substantive position remained unchanged. It’s a pity that Oliver beat a tactical retreat in front of dour political types who wouldn’t know a memorable phrase if it hit them upside the head. He could have called the minority of projects residents much worse things and still have been telling the truth. The terms crack ho junkie wife beater and gangbanger spring to mind to apply to roughly 5% to 10% of the former residents of various projects in Debrisville. It was a minority that terrorized the majority of residents who just want to live in peace. Those folks don’t want their predators back either so why should groups like ACORN?

Item-4 Dollar Bill Watch: It has now been 19 days since the WaPo published its “Dollar Bill is going down” article. The local press continues to ignore the story.

C Ray’s Chocolate City

Tue, 17 Jan 2006 04:28:21

I hadn’t planned to blog again tonight until watching the 10 O’Clock News on WDSU. I’m usually a WWL person but lately I’ve been tuning in at 10 to get WDSU’s tougher slightly tabloidy take on the news.

Enough exposition today Mayor C Ray put his foot in his mouth again by saying that God wanted New Orleans to be a chocolate city. I thought it was funny myself; just C Ray being C Ray which means saying something dumb without thinking. WDSU ran a survey on its web site tonight that found that 94% of the 14 000+ people who answered the question as of 10:30 thought C Ray’s chocolate city comment was “inappropriate.” Me I woulda used the word goofy. Besides a chocolate city is a yummy city. Who wants to live in a yucky liver or cauliflower city? Not me.

After an uproar began to build C Ray tried to spin the comment; badly as usual. If Bill Clinton is the artful dodger C Ray is the inartful dodger. He told WDSU’s Ed Reams that he was talking about hot chocolate which he makes by stirring chocolate into white milk. In short a chocolate city is a racially diverse city. Thanks for clearing that up Mayor Willy Wonka.

As a satirist today’s comments made me as giddy as a 12 year old schoolgirl but the semi-sober semi-responsible adult in me is groaning. It’s typical of C Ray to say something silly and then insult the public’s intelligence with a preposterous explanation. I’d prefer it if he would just one time stick to his guns after saying something controversial even if he’s dead wrong;  at least he’d show that he believes in something anything. But unlike the band Hot Chocolate I don’t “believe in miracles since you came along you sexy thing.” I think instead that  I’ll just follow Neil and Tim Finn’s advice and have another piece of chocolate cake.  <end of semi-obscure and semi-coherent pop music references and this blog entry>”