Mayor Ray Nagin has "Larry Vaughn" Syndrome

You can’t help but think that New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is a little anxious to ring the cash registers of his city. It seems unfathomable that a couple of weeks after he himself predicted tens of thousands of dead and buildings submerged under water for months, Nagin would be pushing for a return of residents to the evacuated city. Talk about dangling a big carrot in front of their noses. The Big Easy isn’t quite so easy yet. Danger continues to exist.

It seems as though Ray Nagin is stricken with a malady I like to call “Larry Vaughn” syndrome.


Remember the movie Jaws? Larry Vaughn was the major of Amity, the small island community plagued by a big ol’ mutha of a shark. In the movie Mayor Vaughn knew danger existed. He knew if he let people back on the beaches to swim there would be a pretty good chance that they’d be bitten by that shark. But in the end, that didn’t matter. What did matter was opening Amity for business. Tourist dollars. Money. All he had to do was be sure the crowds showed up. Then, the business people would be happy. After all, “Amity means Friendship”.

Does Ray Nagin have a little Larry Vaughn in him? Is he putting the interests of overly excited French Quarter businesses ahead of the safety of visiting tourists and residents who live in New Orleans?

If Nagin is Vaughn, Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen is Police Chief Martin Brody.

A weakened levee system and a lack of drinkable tap water will make it “extremely problematic” to follow the New Orleans mayor’s timeline for allowing residents to return to the evacuated city, the head of the federal disaster relief effort said Saturday.

Vice Adm. Thad Allen said federal officials have worked with Mayor Ray Nagin and support his vision for repopulating the city, but he called Nagin’s idea to return up to 180,000 people to New Orleans in the next week both “extremely ambitious” and “extremely problematic.”

Allen called on the mayor to be “mindful of the risks” and said he would inform Nagin of his concerns at a meeting set for Monday.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the newly patched levees, in their current state, would probably not protect the city from the storm surge of a category 3 hurricane. And as we already know, hurricane season isn’t over yet. Danger still exists.

The shark is still in the water.

Keep your head Ray. Listen to Thad. Wait.

In the end, Amity’s beaches closed and remained that way until the risk was eliminated. It’s a good example and a lesson Nagin should pay heed to. Don’t try to be the hero for a few businesses who happen to have a dry floor, plumbing that works, and a couple of kegs of beer on ice. The short term economic gain isn’t worth the potential hazards that still exist.

Others: New Orleans Mayor Defends Return Plan | Business Owners Trickle Back In | Bush Questions Reopening of New Orleans |

UPDATE: Nagin suspends the return of evacuees


  1. Joseph Schlosser says:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I am writing to inform you of my strong opposition to using Federal tax dollars to rebuild New Orleans. I understand that the money won’t come from me; it will come from Chinese farmers, Japanese businessmen and any one else you can sell our debt to. And I understand that it’s my grandchildren who will ultimately pay the debt. Finally, I understand that over the years, Congress has allowed the Presidency to grow so powerful that there’s nothing you can do to stop the expenditure, even if you wanted to. But you can at least take a moment to hear me out.

    First, I object because New Orleans is a cesspool of homosexual perversion, prostitution, sodomy, drunkenness, drug use, pornography, cross-dressing, voodoo, pagan ritual and animal sacrifice. Nightclubs in the red light district (a.k.a. French Quarter . . . how appropriate!) gleefully cater to the insatiable appetites of tourists for depravity. So, unless you can guarantee that my tax dollars will not help foster that God-less behavior, I want my portion withheld.

    Second, I object to entrusting any rebuilding dollars to the city and state whose governments are so incompetent that they allowed the destruction to occur in the first place. It’s not news that New Orleans sits below sea-level. Why wasn’t the levee system fixed back when minimum wage was 50 cents an hour? I suppose stupidity must be an inherited trait among Pig Easy politicians.

    Third, I object to giving my tax dollars to corrupt politicos. Let’s not forget that New Orleans began as a haven for pirates and little has changed in 250 years. Hordes of rioters recently looted the city and many were aided by city employees and police. In fact, cops were shoving people out of the way to grab their share of the loot. Fifteen years ago, a major investigation discovered that police officers were robbing the homes of people who were going on vacation and asking the cops to keep an eye on their property. Nothing has changed, has it? Obviously, we can expect more of our money to line the pockets of crooked politicians and city employees. Count me out.

    (And yes, I understand that Federal government bureaucrats will be keeping “an eye on things” but like I said, I don’t want my money going to incompetents and crooks.)

    Fourth, I don’t want my money used for rebuilding roads, bridges, highways, sidewalks, sewers and the water and electrical grids. Those can all be paid for by the dollars New Orleans will sponge off tourists during the next 100 years. So unless I will be getting a percentage of Mardi Gras proceeds, I see no reason why I should pay for the parade route.

    Fifth, I don’t want my tax dollars used to rebuild the ghetto. What are the plans for the ghetto, anyway? Are we going to do what they do in Hollywood? That is, build new structures but then make them look like tenements by putting in boarded-up windows, burned-out crack houses, walls layered in graffiti and streets covered in trash. Or are we instead, going to build new, functional, sanitary housing . . . and come back in six months to find boarded-up windows, burned out crack houses, walls layered in graffiti and streets covered in trash?

    See, there appears to be no good solution. Therefore, let me offer one: No one is allowed to move back until they have a J-O-B. More importantly, pass a law that in return for any Federal assistance, anyone living in New Orleans must work full-time and is not entitled to receive any welfare. No food stamps, no welfare, no free hand-outs of any kind. Anyone who doesn’t like that rule can move. You want to have five bastard babies and sit on your fat ass collecting welfare? Move to Washington, DC. Or New Jersey. That’s my solution. No welfare, no ghetto. Build it and they will come; DON’T build it and they will stay away.

    Sixth, not one penny to rebuild the Superdome. The Saints stink, have always stunk and always will stink. Besides, most are multi-millionaires anyway. They don’t need our help.

    Seventh, and speaking of those who don’t need MY help . . . I don’t want my dollars going to rebuild any house that’s more expensive than mine. As the IRS can tell you, I live in a very inexpensive house.

    Eighth, I don’t want my tax dollars used to bail out the insurance companies. If they’re stupid enough to go into a financial hole because they were stupid enough to insure people stupid enough to live below sea-level, then survival of the fittest dictates that they don’t.

    Ninth, I don’t want my tax dollars used to rebuild hospitals and clinics. For my feelings about HMOs, please see up above where I discuss my thoughts on crooks and incompetents.

    Tenth, I don’t want my tax dollars used to rebuild any schools. The New Orleans school district was 97% black. In these days of Political Correctness I really shouldn’t speculate on why the white people fled. Needless to say, it probably wasn’t just racism. They obviously knew something we don’t. If the people running New Orleans are products of its school system, then that should be sufficient evidence to bulldoze the schools. Turn the children’s education over to McDonalds. More kids recognize Ronald McDonald than they do the Vice-President, so, it’s safe to say that McDonalds probably knows more about educating children than the New Orleans school system. They can’t do any worse.

    Finally, I don’t want a penny of my tax dollars going to rebuild the levee system. If God had intended New Orleans to sit ten feet below sea-level, then no doubt He would have built the levees Himself. I know you like to pretend you’re God, but you’re not.

    If my letter hasn’t convinced you, and you’re set on rebuilding the levees, then let the people of New Orleans grab a shovel and get to work. I suspect that once they have to engage in back-breaking labor (like those who us who pay the damned taxes do) they will flee the city once again. Then we can demolish what’s left and turn it into one large gasoline refinery so I can keep driving my SUV on cheap gas.

    And don’t forget: We’ll still have Las Vegas.


    Joe Schlosser

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