Ray Nagin
Politician, businessman
Ray Nagin
Clarence Ray Nagin, Jr., also known as C. Ray Nagin, is an American consultant, entrepreneur, author, and public speaker who served from 2002 to 2010 as the 60th mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana. He gained international note in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a historic, catastrophic disaster which devastated the New Orleans area. Nagin was first elected in March 2002 and received significant crossover vote from just about every segment of the population.
Biography
Ray Nagin's personal information overview.
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News
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Mike Huckabee's Remark Reflects Attitude Toward Evacuation
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee recently attracted consternation for saying that New Orleans residents who did not evacuate for Hurricane Katrina had been lulled to inertia by climate change activists who exaggerate the threat of dangerous weather. It's unclear why the Republican presidential candidate considers himself knowledgable on this subject. Huckabee's experience with evacuations is limited to being alerted by emergency officials in September 2005 that Arkansas may need to accept Hurricane Katrina evacuees. That actually did not pan out. Indeed, the facts do not support Huckabee. But the remark also highlights how misunderstood the concept of evacuation is. Those who have never evacuated to avoid calamity tend to think an evacuation is a holiday trip "over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go." Evacuations are always relatively sudden, stressful and difficult. Incoming information changes by the hour. They are expensive especially whe ...
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Huffington Post article
Ex-New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin seeks to have conviction tossed
Yahoo News - almost 2 years
Attorneys for former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who is serving a 10-year sentence in federal prison for corruption, are seeking to have his 2014 conviction overturned because of what they say were flawed instructions given to the jury, court papers show. He was thrust into the national spotlight in 2005 when the storm's waters overwhelmed levees and flooded 80 percent of New Orleans, killing 1,500 people and causing some $80 billion in damage. In a court papers filed on Tuesday, Nagin's attorneys said the judge in the case erred in telling jurors to find him guilty of nine counts of fraud and one count of conspiracy even if he would have acted in the same way without the inducement of a payoff.
Article Link:
Yahoo News article
Friday Talking Points - Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
Huffington Post - about 3 years
John Boehner has a song in his heart. That song is "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah," which he was heard quoting from as he was busy passing a clean debt ceiling bill in his House. He followed up with another lyric from the tune: "Plenty of sunshine coming my way." Mr. Boehner is, of course, being amusingly ironic. He does not, in fact, have a song in his heart, and he is not looking for beams of sunshine heading his way from his fellow Republicans. Boehner passed the clean debt ceiling bill with 193 Democratic votes and only 28 Republican votes, after all. He ignored the self-imposed "Hastert Rule," surprisingly early in the legislative fight -- two whole weeks before the crisis was scheduled to hit. He did so because the Tea Party faction in his party informed him that he didn't even have the votes for the usual round of hostage-taking -- Republicans, on their own, couldn't pass any bill. Boehner, realizing the futility of his position, then gave President Obama exactly what he asked for ...
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Huffington Post article
Few tears shed for Ray Nagin
CNN - about 3 years
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin faces prison with few of his former constituents shedding any tears for the man who led them through the biggest disaster in the city's modern history.
Article Link:
CNN article
Nagin Guilty of 20 Counts of Bribery and Fraud
New York Times - about 3 years
A federal jury deliberated for about six and a half hours before finding C. Ray Nagin, the former mayor of New Orleans, guilty of accepting payoffs for city contracts.     
Article Link:
New York Times article
Ex- NOLA Mayor Ray Nagin found guilty of corruption
CBS News - about 3 years
Nagin, who was mayor during Hurricane Katrina, found guilty on 20 of 21 counts, mostly accepting bribes and wire fraud; faces possible lengthy prison term
Article Link:
CBS News article
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin found guilty of corruption
Reuters.com - about 3 years
Feb. 12 - A federal jury finds former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin guilty of bribery and corruption in connection with the city's recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Deborah Gembara reports.
Article Link:
Reuters.com article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Ray Nagin
    FIFTIES
  • 2014
    Age 57
    On September 3, 2014, a judge deemed Nagin indigent and ordered the Federal Public Defender's Office to take over his appeal.
    More Details Hide Details Nagin said he was near penniless and relying on food stamps. Nagin reported to the Federal Correctional Institution, Texarkana, a prison camp, on September 8, 2014. Nagin, Bureau of Prisons (BOP) #32751-034, is presently incarcerated at this facility. His earliest possible release date is May 25, 2023.
  • 2012
    Age 55
    In June 2012, Frank Fradella, who was facing major securities fraud charges, pleaded guilty in New Orleans federal court to one count of conspiracy to bribe a public official.
    More Details Hide Details According to The Times-Picayune, Fradella claims to have paid $50,000 and delivered truckloads of free granite to Nagin's sons' business in exchange for favorable treatment for Fradella's companies with city contracts. On January 18, 2013, Nagin was indicted on 21 corruption charges, including wire fraud, conspiracy, bribery, money laundering, and filing false tax returns related to bribes from city contractors. The 21-count federal corruption charges were issued by a grand jury. On February 20, 2013, Nagin pleaded not guilty in federal court to all charges. Despite New Orleans' long history of political corruption, Nagin was the first mayor to be criminally charged for corruption in office. Nagin was convicted on 20 of the 21 counts by jury on February 12, 2014. Judge Helen Ginger Berrigan, a Bill Clinton appointee to the federal bench, ordered a pre-sentencing investigation. On July 9, 2014, Nagin was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment, and more than $585,000 in restitution and forfeiture. Berrigan recommended that Nagin be sent to the Federal Correctional Complex, Oakdale. On July 15, 2014, Nagin's attorney filed an appeal with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • 2010
    Age 53
    Term-limited by law, he left office on May 3, 2010.
    More Details Hide Details After leaving office, Nagin founded CRN Initiatives LLC, a firm that focuses on emergency preparedness, green energy product development, publishing, and public speaking. He wrote and self-published Katrina Secrets: Storms after the Storms.
    The U.S. Department of Labor in its April 2010 report said New Orleans had the lowest unemployment in the nation. Prior to leaving office in 2010, Nagin was appointed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to head the United States delegation to a state and local governments conference on assistance to post-earthquake Haiti held in Martinique.
    More Details Hide Details A recovery plan was completed and presented to donor nations resulting in Haiti receiving billions in pledges. At a town hall meeting in October 2005, Nagin said: "I can see in your eyes, you want to know, 'How do I take advantage of this incredible opportunity? How do I make sure New Orleans is not overrun with Mexican workers". This was in response to a question from the audience. Some Hispanic groups, including the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, criticized Nagin's statement, although those attending the town hall meeting reportedly applauded - many believing jobs should first go to locals displaced by the hurricane. Nagin went on to say this was the city's biggest economic opportunity and urged New Orleanians to get more comfortable working beside someone who did not look like them, as everyone's help was needed. During a subsequent interview on Telemundo with Jose Diaz-Balart, Nagin praised the great work Hispanic workers did in New Orleans and said the city would not have recovered without them.
  • 2009
    Age 52
    On April 7, 2009, the Times-Picayune alleged a conflict of interest with regard to a trip Nagin took to Hawaii in 2004. The vacation Nagin, then-chief technology officer Greg Meffert, and their families took in 2004 was claimed to be partially paid for by Meffert, but years later it was revealed that Meffert used a contractor's credit card to pay for Nagin's plane ticket. David Hammer of the Times-Picayune reported on April 23, 2009, that Nagin had taken "plenty of other trips" at the expense of NetMethods, a company owned by city vendor Mark St. Pierre. In April 2009, Nagin was obliged "to sit for a deposition as part of a civil lawsuit over the city's controversial crime camera program." The Times-Picayune had obtained information that Mark St. Pierre, who allegedly paid for the holiday, had made substantial donations to Nagin's 2006 re-election campaign.
    More Details Hide Details Nagin's Chief Technology Officer, Greg Meffert, was later charged with 63 felony counts in what authorities say "was a lucrative kickback scheme." All but two of the counts were subsequently dropped, and Meffert eventually pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of filing a false income tax return.
  • 2007
    Age 50
    Nagin hired recovery expert Dr. Ed Blakely in 2007 to head up a dedicated Office of Recovery Management.
    More Details Hide Details The Rockefeller, Ford and Bill & Melinda Gates foundations provided grants for critical staff enhancements. During the end of 2007 and into 2008 Nagin guided the city through an extensive planning process that documented a $14 billion need. However, the state only allocated 2% of the plan and it took almost three years to receive any of these federal recovery dollars. By years 4 and 5, New Orleans made significant progress toward recovery. 85% of all city managed recovery projects were either recently completed, under construction, or in final design. By the end of 2009, there were over $20 billion in public & private sector construction related projects underway. Business Week said New Orleans was one of the best cities in America to ride out the great recession. Money Magazine ranked the city as the sixth fastest growing real estate market. Outside Magazine said New Orleans was the 20th best town in American to live in.
  • FORTIES
  • 2006
    Age 49
    He was also a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, an organization formed in 2006 and co-chaired by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston mayor Thomas Menino.
    More Details Hide Details In 2006, Nagin was also criticized for devoting time to extensive lobbying in Washington, DC and a national speaking tour. Nagin's administration said this was necessary in order to correct inaccurate perceptions of New Orleans and secure recovery support. In addition during 2007, a drastic increase in the city’s violent crime rate led to more criticism of Nagin. Nagin called for and got help from the Louisiana National Guard and U.S. Justice Department. However, Nagin continued to be heavily criticized by the local newspaper. He reignited complaints when he said news of two killings should keep focus on the city's needs for more help and, “while sad, keeps the New Orleans brand out there."
    In an interview with Tavis Smiley broadcast on Public Radio International on January 13, 2006, Nagin said he used the phrase "chocolate city" in reference to a time in the 1970s when African Americans were just starting to exercise political power in places like Washington, D.C. The term had been used in many of Nagin's previous speeches and welcoming addresses to visitors of the city.
    More Details Hide Details The idea reportedly originated with the song "Chocolate City" by the popular 1970s funk group Parliament. At the time of the 2006 election, at least two-thirds of its residents were still displaced. One candidate said in his Times Picayune interview he was running because the city's demographics had dramatically changed. There were three unsuccessful lawsuits filed to prevent delaying the original election date. In the April 22 election, Nagin was the front runner with 38% of the vote. Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu came in second with 29%. Nagin and Landrieu faced each other in a run-off election on May 20, 2006. Nagin defeated Landrieu 52% to 48%. Nagin's second term began on June 1, 2006. He was intensely criticized by the local media throughout this term. For example, his "100-day plan" to accelerate the rebuilding of New Orleans was bashed for what critics said was a tardy release, lack of details and activity in moving forward. Nagin administration spokesperson Rob Couhig backed away from a 100-day promise, stating that it was not meant as a "time period," but as a short-range initiative to improve quality-of-life issues. Delays in FEMA reimbursements and federal recovery dollars reaching the city caused many significant delays.
    He first used the phrase during a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration speech in New Orleans on January 16, 2006 and repeated the metaphor several times.
    More Details Hide Details This was seized upon and parodied by some commentators, cartoons, and merchandising. Various designs of T-shirts with satirical depictions of Nagin as Willy Wonka were sold in the city and on the Internet. Nagin also said that New Orleans "will be a majority African-American city because this was what God wants it to be." Some people found the implication of Nagin claiming to know God's will to be as troubling as the racial aspects of his speech. He then condemned Washington D.C., by saying God "sent us hurricane after hurricane after hurricane, and it's destroyed and put stress on this country", suggesting God's disapproval of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
    He was re-elected in 2006 even though the election was held with at least two-thirds of New Orleans citizens still displaced after Katrina struck.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2004
    Age 47
    As Hurricane Ivan threatened the Gulf of Mexico in September 2004, Nagin urged New Orleanians to be ready for the storm.
    More Details Hide Details He advised evacuees to have some "Benjamins" ($100 bills) handy and urged those planning to stay not only to stock up on food and water but also to make sure they had "an axe in the attic". This was a reference to the many people trapped in their attics by rising floodwaters when Hurricane Betsy hit the city in 1965. Nagin issued a voluntary evacuation call at 6 pm on September 13, and the interstates quickly filled as some 600,000 metro New Orleanians left. Traffic was so heavy that some trips took 12 hours or more. The hurricane missed the city. In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina entered the Gulf of Mexico. Early on Friday, August 26, Mayor Nagin advised New Orleanians to keep a close eye on the storm and prepare for evacuation. He then made several public statements encouraging people to leave and advising that if they did not evacuate, "We will take care of you". By 10 a.m. Saturday, a mandatory evacuation was called for low-lying areas in the surrounding parishes—St. Charles, St. Tammany, Plaquemines, and Jefferson—and a voluntary evacuation for St. Bernard Parish. Nagin had, however, ignored federal and state offers of help and a recommendation to evacuate the city.
    Southern Business and Development named New Orleans number eight on the list of "come back kids" in the south. New Orleans had back-to-back record tourist years, 10.1 million in 2004.
    More Details Hide Details A Yahoo/National Geographic Traveler poll named the city its number one family destination. Since 2002, the area had seen over $400 million of film productions, including movies like the Oscar-award winning Ray, starring Jamie Foxx, and All the King's Men, featuring Sean Penn. According to MovieMaker Magazine, New Orleans was the 4th best place to film a movie and had earned the title "Hollywood South". In November 2004, the Nagin administration passed the city's largest bond issue, $260 million. New Orleans also jumped from 69th to 38th on Intel's list of "Most Wired Cities". The city's website went from being unranked to the 4th best in the nation.
    The 2004 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report of the City of New Orleans, as certified by CPA firm KPMG, highlighted many significant accomplishments of the Nagin administration.
    More Details Hide Details New Orleans gained 4,500 jobs that year. U.S. Census Bureau figures showed about 38,000 New Orleanians had risen out of poverty as the national average increased. According to The American City Business Journal, per capita income in New Orleans was rising at the fastest rate in the nation.
    In 2004, he endorsed John Kerry for president.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2002
    Age 45
    In the runoff on Saturday, March 2, 2002, Nagin defeated Richard Pennington with 59 percent of the votes to become the 60th mayor of New Orleans.
    More Details Hide Details
    Nagin was first elected as mayor in March 2002.
    More Details Hide Details
    Nagin entered the race for mayor on the final day of qualifying. Shortly before the primary mayoral election, on January 17, 2002, the New Orleans Times Picayune and Gambit Weekly endorsed Nagin. In the first round of the mayoral election in February 2002, Nagin won first place with 29 percent of the vote.
    More Details Hide Details Some of his opponents were the Police Chief Richard Pennington, State Senator Paulette Irons, and City Councilman Troy Carter.
  • 1999
    Age 42
    He periodically gave contributions to candidates of both parties, including Representative Billy Tauzin in 1999 and 2000, as well as Democrat Senators John Breaux and J.
    More Details Hide Details Bennett Johnston, Jr. earlier in the decade. Nagin endorsed conservative Republican Bobby Jindal over conservative Democrat Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Blanco in the 2003 runoff for governor.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1989
    Age 32
    In 1989, he was appointed to oversee all of Cox properties in south Louisiana as vice-president and general manager of Cox Louisiana, earning $400,000 annually, according to CNBC's "American Greed"
    More Details Hide Details In 1993, Nagin enrolled in the executive MBA program at Tulane University. Nagin also lobbied at the local, State, and Federal government levels, as many of the businesses he managed were regulated and required formal franchise renewals. His public profile was high because he hosted a twice-weekly television call-in show for customers. In 1995, Nagin received the Young Leadership Council Diversity and Role Model Award, and later sat on the boards of the United Way, and Covenant House. He also was one of the founders and president of 100 Black Men of metro New Orleans, an affiliate of the national organization of black businessmen. Nagin was a partner in a group that brought the New Orleans Brass to the city. Nagin became the team's president and investors' spokesman as they secured the hockey franchise. The initial popularity of the team allowed the group to secure the 18,000 seat New Orleans Arena as its home venue. That year, the local alternative newspaper Gambit Weekly named Nagin as its New Orleanian of the Year.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1985
    Age 28
    In 1985, Nagin returned to New Orleans to become the controller of Cox New Orleans, the city's cable television franchise, run by the Cox media conglomerate.
    More Details Hide Details The franchise had a history of customer complaints, low profits, and stagnant growth, and was one of the poorest-performing components within Cox. Nagin was quickly promoted to general manager.
  • 1982
    Age 25
    In 1982, Nagin married Seletha Smith, a New Orleans native.
    More Details Hide Details Together, they have three children.
  • 1981
    Age 24
    After graduating from college, he went to work in the purchasing department at General Motors in Detroit, Michigan. He moved to Los Angeles, California, then to Dallas, Texas in 1981 to take Internal Audit Manager and Division Controller jobs with Associates Corporation.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1978
    Age 21
    He enrolled at historically black Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, on a baseball scholarship, played on championship teams, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting in 1978.
    More Details Hide Details He became a Certified Public Accountant.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1956
    Born
    Nagin was born on June 11, 1956, in New Orleans' Charity Hospital, to a family of modest means.
    More Details Hide Details His childhood was typical of that of urban youth, and his father held two jobs: a janitor at New Orleans City Hall by night and a fabric cutter at a clothing factory by day. After the factory shut down his father became a fleet mechanic at a local dairy, to earn sufficient pay to support his family. His mother was employed as manager of a Kmart in-store restaurant. The family lived on Allen Street in the 7th Ward, followed by a stay near St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in the Tremé, and then moved to the Cutoff section of Algiers. Nagin attended St. Augustine High School and O. Perry Walker High School, where he played basketball and baseball.
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