[FoRK] Nagin's rant

snitsnat snitilicious
Fri Sep 2 11:44:01 PDT 2005

Nagin for Prez!

[audio at <http://www.atypical.net/mm/nagin.mp3>]


CNN airs WWL Radio interview with New Orleans Mayor Ray;

This is a rush transcript and may not be in its final format.

RAY NAGIN, MAYOR OF NEW ORLEANS: I told him we had an incredible crisis 
here and that his flying over in Air Force One does not do it justice. And 
that I have been all around this city, and I am very frustrated because we 
are not able to marshal resources and we're out-manned in just about every 

You know the reason why the looters got out of control? Because we had most 
of our resources saving people, thousands of people that were stuck in 
attics, man, old ladies. When you pull off the doggone ventilator vent and 
you look down there and they're standing in there in water up to their 
freaking necks.

And they don't have a clue what's going on down here. They flew down here 
one time two days after the doggone event was over with TV cameras, AP 
reporters, all kind of goddamn -- excuse my French everybody in America, 
but I am pissed.

GARLAND ROBINETTE, WWL CORRESPONDENT: Did you say to the president of the 
United States, "I need the military in here"?

NAGIN: I said, "I need everything."

Now, I will tell you this -- and I give the president some credit on this 
-- he sent one John Wayne dude down here that can get some stuff done, and 
his name is General Honore.

And he came off the doggone chopper and he started cussing and people 
started moving. And he's getting some stuff done.

They ought to give that guy -- if they don't want to give it to me, give 
him full authority to get the job done, and we can save some people.

ROBINETTE: What do you need right now to get control of this situation?

NAGIN: I need reinforcements, I need troops, man. I need 500 buses, man. We 
ain't talking about -- you know, one of the briefings we had, they were 
talking about getting public school bus drivers to come down here and bus 
people out here.

I'm like, "You got to be kidding me. This is a national disaster. Get every 
doggone Greyhound busline in the country and get their asses moving to New 

That's -- they're thinking small, man. And this is a major, major, major 
deal. And I can't emphasize it enough, man. This is crazy.

I've got 15,000 to 20,000 people over at the convention center. It's 
bursting at the seams. The poor people in Plaquemines Parish. They're 
air-vacing people over here in New Orleans. We don't have anything and 
we're sharing with our brothers in Plaquemines Parish.

It's awful down here, man.

ROBINETTE: Do you believe that the president is seeing this, holding a news 
conference on it but can't do anything until Kathleen Blanco requested him 
to do it? And do you know whether or not she has made that request?

NAGIN: I have no idea what they're doing. But I will tell you this: You 
know, God is looking down on all this and if they are not doing everything 
in their power to save people they are going to pay the price. Because 
every day that we delay, people are dying and they're dying by the 
hundreds, I'm willing to bet you.

We're getting reports and calls that are breaking my heart, from people 
saying, "I've been in my attic. I can't take it anymore. The water is up to 
my neck. I don't think I can hold out." And that's happening as we speak.

You know what really upsets me, Garland? We told everybody the importance 
of the 17th Street Canal issue. We said, "Please, please take care of this. 
We don't care what you do. Figure it out."

ROBINETTE: Who'd you say that to?

NAGIN: Everybody: the governor, Homeland Security, FEMA. You name it, we 
said it.

And they allowed that pumping station next to Pumping Station 6 to go under 
water. Our sewage and water board people -- Marcia St. Martin (ph) -- 
stayed there and endangered their lives.

And what happened when that pumping station went down, the water started 
flowing again in the city and it starting getting to levels that probably 
killed more people. In addition to that, we had water flowing through the 
pipes in the city. That's a power station over there. So there's no water 
flowing anywhere on the east bank of Orleans Parish. So our critical water 
supply was destroyed because of lack of action.

ROBINETTE: Why couldn't they drop the 3,000-pound sandbags or the 
containers that they were talking about earlier? Was it an engineering feat 
that just couldn't be done?

NAGIN: They said it was some pulleys that they had to manufacture. But, you 
know, in a state of emergency, man, you are creative, you figure out ways 
to get stuff done.

Then they told me that they went overnight and they built 17 concrete 
structures and they had the pulleys on them and they were going to drop them.

I flew over that thing yesterday and it's in the same shape that it was 
after the storm hit. There is nothing happening. And they're feeding the 
public a line of bull and they're spinning, and people are dying down here.

ROBINETTE: If some of the public called and they're right, that there's a 
law that the president, that the federal government can't do anything 
without local or state requests, would you request martial law?

NAGIN: I've already called for martial law in the city of New Orleans. We 
did that a few days ago.

ROBINETTE: Did the governor do that, too?

NAGIN: I don't know. I don't think so.

But we called for martial law when we realized that the looting was getting 
out of control. And we redirected all of our police officers back to 
patrolling the streets. They were dead-tired from saving people but they 
worked all night because we thought this thing was going to blow wide open 
last night. And so we redirected all of our resources and we hold it under 

I'm not sure if we can do that another night with the current resources.

And I am telling you right now: They're showing all these reports of people 
looting and doing all that weird stuff, and they are doing that, but people 
are desperate and they're trying to find food and water, the majority of them.

Now, you got some knuckle heads out there and they are taking advantage of 
this lawless -- this situation where, you know, we can't really control it, 
and they're doing some awful, awful things. But that's a small majority of 
the people. Most people are looking to try and survive.

And one of the things people -- nobody's talked about this. Drugs flowed in 
and out of New Orleans and the surrounding metropolitan area so freely it 
was scary to me, and that's why we were having the escalation in murders. 
People don't want to talk about this, but I'm going to talk about it.

You have drug addicts that are now walking around this city looking for a 
fix, and that's that reason why they were breaking in hospitals and drug 
stores. They're looking for something to take the edge off of their jones, 
if you will.

And right now, they don't have anything to take the edge off. And they've 
probably found guns. So what you're seeing is drug-starving crazy addicts, 
drug addicts, that are wrecking havoc. And we don't have the manpower to 
adequately deal with it. We can only target certain sections of the city 
and form a perimeter around them and hope to God that we're not overrun.

ROBINETTE: Well, you and I must be in the minority. Because apparently 
there's a section of our citizenry out there that thinks because of a law 
that says the federal government can't come in unless requested by the 
proper people, that everything that's going on to this point has been done 
as good as it can possibly be.

NAGIN: Really?

ROBINETTE: I know you don't feel that way.

NAGIN: Well, did the tsunami victims request? Did it go through a formal 
process to request?

You know, did the Iraqi people request that we go in there? Did they ask us 
to go in there?

What is more important?

And I'll tell you, man, I'm probably going get in a whole bunch of trouble. 
I'm probably going to get in so much trouble it ain't even funny. You 
probably won't even want to deal with me after this interview is over.

ROBINETTE: You and I will be in the funny place together.

NAGIN: But we authorized $8 billion to go to Iraq lickety-quick. After 
9/11, we gave the president unprecedented powers lickety-quick to take care 
of New York and other places.

Now, you mean to tell me that a place where most of your oil is coming 
through, a place that is so unique when you mention New Orleans anywhere 
around the world, everybody's eyes light up -- you mean to tell me that a 
place where you probably have thousands of people that have died and 
thousands more that are dying every day, that we can't figure out a way to 
authorize the resources that we need? Come on, man.

You know, I'm not one of those drug addicts. I am thinking very clearly.

And I don't know whose problem it is. I don't know whether it's the 
governor's problem. I don't know whether it's the president's problem, but 
somebody need to get their ass on a plane and sit down, the two of them, 
and figure this out right now.

ROBINETTE: What can we do here?

NAGIN: Keep talking about it.

ROBINETTE: We'll do that. What else can we do?

NAGIN: Organize people to write letters and make calls to their 
congressmen, to the president, to the governor. Flood their doggone offices 
with requests to do something.

This is ridiculous.

I don't want to see anybody do anymore goddamn press conferences. Put a 
moratorium on press conferences. Don't do another press conference until 
the resources are in this city. And then come down to this city and stand 
with us when there are military trucks and troops that we can't even count.

Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here. It's too 
doggone late.

Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddamn 
crisis in the history of this country.

ROBINETTE: I'll say it right now, you're the only politician that's called 
and called for arms like this. And if -- whatever it takes, the governor, 
president -- whatever law precedent it takes, whatever it takes, I bet that 
the people listening to you are on your side.

NAGIN: Well, I hope so, Garland. I am just -- I'm at the point now where it 
don't matter. People are dying. They don't have homes. They don't have 
jobs. The city of New Orleans will never be the same in this time.

ROBINETTE: We're both pretty speechless here.

NAGIN: Yeah, I don't know what to say.

I got to go.

ROBINETTE: OK. Keep in touch. Keep in touch.


"Finish your beer. There are sober kids in India."

                        -- rwmartin 

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