By: Allen Johnson
Will Ray Nagin return from China as New Orleans kung fu fighting mayor? Well know soon enough. Hizzoner was expected home over the weekend, after attending a three-day meeting of world mayors in the provincial city of Zhengzhou, (pronounced JUNG-joe). The modern megalopolis on the Yellow River is also home of the Shaolin Monastery, a Buddhist place of worship and home of the martial art of kung fu, says a New Orleans businessman familiar with the region. [The monastery] has done a lively tourist trade among aging Westerners thanks to reruns of Kung Fu, a 1970s American TV show starring actor David Carradine, the businessman said. The official purpose of Nagins trip was to attend the International Mayors Forum on Tourism (April 9-11) and to meet privately with Chinese officials concerning investment opportunities. Nagin led a small delegation that left New Orleans April 6, including Lisa Ponce de Leon, city director of international relations, and Erin Butler-Mueller, an official with the U.S. Export Assistance Center in New Orleans.