Former New Orleans Mayor Nagin Sentenced to Prison…..
Former New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin was sentenced to ten years in prison by U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan on Wednesday, July 9.
The sentence has elicited a wide range of comments from pundits and citizens alike. Some think that ten years, of which he will serve maybe 8 and half, was not harsh enough; others think it was too severe.
However, the subject of this blog is not how one may feel about the mayor, the crime for which he was convicted or the length of time he will serve. For me, the important point that warrants a comment today is our legal system and how well it has once again performed. On a daily basis, countries around the world are torn apart by corruption, malfeasance and the arrogance of politicians who go about inflicting pain and suffering for their own personal gain for years on end with no relief in sight for the beleaguered citizens.
New Orleanians love politics and politicians. Both are the subject of many a conversation in our city, so it is easy to envision that yesterday, in every household and around every water cooler, everyone was discussing Ray Nagin´s corruption or lack thereof. By any standard, Nagin´s political ride was quick. He moved ahead of the pack of candidates a little over ten years ago and was elected mayor to praise of many. Unfortunately, he had an even quicker ride down; he will serve in jail almost as the same amount of time he served as mayor, practically day for day.
Every news outlet in New Orleans had pundits continuously analyzing what sentence the former mayor would receive for weeks in advance of the Sentencing Hearing.
Ultimately, the Judge was the person who determined how much time the former mayor would serve and she pronounced her decision with grace. Before imposing sentence, Judge Berrigan stated:
“…Corruption breeds public cynicism; nowhere more than New Orleans, where the perception of the city as a hub of corruption persists……The seriousness of Mr. Nagin’s offenses can´t be overstated.”
I think the history books will remember Ray Nagin for two things:
- The mayor at the helm of the city when the levees broke and
- The first mayor convicted of public corruption.
Mr. Nagin has been ordered to report to the prison on September 8 to begin his prison sentence.
New Orleans is a city older than the United States is a country. We have survived pestilence, hurricanes. Today we move forward together in the knowledge that the Nagin Chapter is over.