misunderstood, like Jesus.

Apr 1, 2010 by

C Ray Nagin, as mayor of New Orleans, is no doubt preparing for a much deserved rest. I’m sure its a walk through some very interesting memories for him as he rolls this or that in bubble wrap in his office late at night. Working late is not unusual for the good mayor as he is “always working”. So much so that even taking his wife to dinner is considered work; such is the dedication this man has to his job. And as he slips out of office with a sort of quiet dignity it seems only fair that we, the people he has so selflessly served, reflect on the 8 years under the leadership of this most misunderstood of leaders.

Fist we must acknowledge what history will show to be his greatest legacy: His handling of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Working in conjunction with another great, misunderstood leader George W. Bush, he was not only a light in terrible darkness and lead us through those troubling times, but also through the recovery. There is no doubt we wouldn’t be where we are as a city were it not for his efforts. His dealings with the challenges of the complexity of FEMA and streamlining that process adding efficiencies was amazing to watch. It was his clear-headed decisiveness that made all the difference. He was the architect for the renaissance we live in today.

Then there was the transparency which was the keystone for how the Mayor’s office was run. He has redefined how a mayor will do business hereafter. This guy ran his office by the book. I believe this is why his office and City Council worked so well together. City Council always knew exactly where they stood with him and that made the process much easier for everyone to accomplish the things that were best for the people of New Orleans.

The improvements to overall quality of life he affected were significant as well. With crime reduced, education improvements, etc. People aren’t afraid to walk the streets after dark. Litter is no longer a problem. The police are seen more as a partner that can be relied upon to be there if you should need them and drift into the scenery when they’re not needed. Much of this is also due to the efforts of Warren Riley and the respect he commands from his troops.

And lastly, and this is what I think history will really vet out as significant; calling out the ‘shadow government’. He took a lot of flack for making those statements about a shadow government running New Orleans and being responsible for the ills he couldn’t fix himself. The massive intellect it took to clearly see and understand what was really going on is staggering. But more than that, to publicly take them to task was heroic. No longer can they live in the shadows manipulating things to their favor.

Please share with me, and all of New Orleans, your own favorite contributions that our beloved Mayor Nagin has accomplished and how it has impacted your life. As for me, I would just like to wish him God’s speed in his future endeavors. Mr. Mayor, you will truly be missed.

By the way, what is today?….Oh, I see…

Jack Ware

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