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AP: Ray Nagin's "erratic course"

Liberals appear to be turning on NO's hapless leader. Adam Nossiter of the AP offers "New Orleans Mayor Faces Leadership Crisis".
He's charted an "erratic course" over the course of the crisis, weeping one moment and "jauntily announcing the city's comeback at another". He got the death toll wrong (as far as is currently known), he invited people to come back then reversed course, he accuse Thad Allen of "trying to make himself the federal mayor of New Orleans", and, horror of horrors, he was late for a meeting with federal officials.

"He hasn't demonstrated a clear vision for what should be happening next in New Orleans," said Melissa Harris Lacewell, a political science professor with the University of Chicago's Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture. She described him as a "kind of a passionate character in this whole story," but added, "He appears to have been pretty unprepared."
Others have said in Nagin's defense that he is dealing with an enormous and unprecedented crisis.
Asked Tuesday about criticism of his leadership after the hurricane, the 49-year-old Nagin laughed.
"I won't even deal with that, man," he told The Associated Press. "It's my style, and I love it." He then walked away...


But his shoot-from-the-hip style has not served him well in a crisis, and has resulted in sometimes ill-informed or premature public pronouncements.
His competence and his ability to work the levers of political power have also been called into question.

Has the AP now fingered Nagin as their scapegoat-of-the-week?

"French Quarter Holdouts Create 'Tribes'"

In the absence of information and outside assistance, groups of rich and poor banded together in the French Quarter, forming "tribes" and dividing up the labor...
"Some people became animals," Vasilioas Tryphonas said Sunday morning as he sipped a hot beer in Johnny White's Sports Bar on Bourbon Street. "We became more civilized."
...Police came through commandeering drivable vehicles and siphoning gas. Officials took over a hotel and ejected the guests.
An officer pumped his shotgun at a group trying to return to their hotel on Chartres Street.
"This is our block," he said, pointing the gun down a side street. "Go that way."
...a dozen people in three houses got together and divided the labor. One group went to the Mississippi River to haul water, one cooked, one washed the dishes...
...The tribe, whose members included a doctor, a merchant and a store clerk, improvised survival tactics. Krack, for example, brushed her dentures with antibacterial dish soap.
It had been a tribe of 13, but a member died Wednesday of a drug overdose. After some negotiating, the police carried the body out on the trunk of a car...
...Four white tour buses rolled into the Quarter under Humvee escort. National Guardsmen told residents they had one hour to gather their belongings and get a ride out. Four of the tribe members decided to leave...

AP, Sep 4, 5:45 PM EDT (deletes end with bus,full)


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