Blog Assignment #2

Present a vignette that describes your observation of a public administrator’s inclusion of race talk in their communication regarding the delivery of public services. In your vignette you must address impact and outcome.

 

When I think of public administrators talking about race, once speech stands out in my mind.

The speech was given by Ray Nagin who was the mayor of New Orleans in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.   In 2006, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Nagin gave a speech in New Orleans concerning race.   This speech is infamously known as the “Chocolate City” speech is shown in the video clip below.

http://www.wwl.com/Video-Ray-Nagin-s-chocolate-city-speech/15312155″>http://www.wwl.com/Video-Ray-Nagin-s-chocolate-city-speech/15312155

Nagin said that his speech was an effort to get African American residents to come back to New Orleans.  Needless to say his efforts failed.  According to the Census Bureau in 2011, the city of New Orleans is 29 percent smaller than the decade before (Robertson, 2011).  Census finds also revealed that the city had 118,000 fewer black residents (Robertson, 2011).    New Orleans was once a city made up of more than two-thirds black, is now less than 60 percent black (Robertson, 2011).

Aftermath of a small storm in NOLA. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Aftermath of a small storm in NOLA.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

It’s unfair and unrealistic to blame these numbers on Nagin or his speech.  The backlash from the infamous and controversial speech prompted Nagin to apologize.  Despite the speech and the backlash, Nagin voted mayor of New Orleans for a second term.  However, his sluggish recovery effort to rebuild the city only built frustration.  He began to attract the attention of federal investigators.

In 2013, Nagin was charges with wire fraud, conspiracy, bribery, money laundering, and filing false tax returns.  The 21-count federal corruptions charges were issued by a grand jury making Nagin the first mayor on New Orleans to be criminally charges for corruption in office.  His trail began earlier this year.

His earlier “efforts” to help the city are now ironic at best.  It is hard to believe that Nagin was ever really serious about helping the city of New Orleans or the residents.  His corruption and frivilous speeches only hurt New Orleans.  As if Hurricane Katrina was not enough…

 

References

Robertson, C. (2011, February 3). Smaller New Orleans After Katrina, Census Shows. . Retrieved June 1, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/04/us/04census.html?pagewanted=all

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