On the occasion of acquiring new weapons and equipment for his police department, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin found time to share a laugh with his chief of police. The moment was captured by a news photographer and published in yesterday’s New Orleans Times-Picayune (and elsewhere).
Which brought forth a barrage of criticism on local talk radio and the Internet.
And how did Mr. Nagin, paragon of municipal leadership, react to that? By blaming the press. According to a statement issued by his communication director:
“Yesterday’s announcement was a lift to the morale of this heroic police department that lost much of it’s resources in Hurricane Katrina and the flooding that resulted from the levee breaches. Mayor Nagin was and continues to be on the frontlines working to secure resources for this agency....
“Unfortunately... a photo, taken out of context, was selected by our own local media and now showcased across the nation as a mockery of all this city’s recovery efforts. This is the real tragedy.”
No, your honor. The “tragedy” is the violent crime that bedevils your city. You had no business goofing around, you embarrassment you.