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Letters to the Editor

Right on, Clancy!
I don't know if this email will reach Clancy DuBos' desk, however, I just want to say thank you. It's good to have someone out there that knows that all black folks don't buy into "preach the M.L. King speech" and they (black people) will stand up, cheer and support everything you say and do. I'm outraged by what he said during the M.L. King celebration and even more outraged that [Nagin] came into the white community and implied that those people who live in public housing should not come back home. Just so he'll know, all of the criminals that live in New Orleans don't live in public housing. And yes we vote, and his comments will be remembered. Hats off to you, Clancy! You're absolutely right. A good leader brings people together; they don't tear them apart.

C. Wiggins

I can't agree with you more! I am a native of southeast Louisiana and currently live in Dana Point, Calif. Clips of Nagin and his foolish comments were seen and heard all over the news and radio, and was a topic of conversation at my job. I was truly embarrassed by this man's ignorance and for the people of New Orleans where relatives and friends live. It's a good thing he's on his way out. I just hope he will keep quiet until he goes. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to vent.

Marsha Wilson

My compliments to Clancy DuBos for his column on Mayor Ray "Chocolate City" Nagin. It is refreshing to have someone call it as he honestly sees it, and be right in the process. And DuBos is absolutely right; Nagin's stupid behavior and comments make me question my desire to once again visit one of my favorite cities, and thereby help in its recovery. Multiply that feeling by the thousands and thousands of others who reacted similarly and the damage is clear.

Neil Shapiro

Why is the Ray Nagin Web site, I mean the New Orleans Web site, not taking e-mail comments? I've tried many times to send him my comments on his statement and a message comes up that they are not receiving e-mail. What gives?

I've attached my comments to Mayor Nagin, and maybe you can give it to him.

As I understand, you may have apologized for your comments but the damage is done. It's like a first impression, what you say first means more than what comes after. The nation looks at us and laughs and wonders why any aid should be given to revive the city of New Orleans! For the mayor of any city to say that his city should be a "chocolate city" is racism at its worst. It tells the white people (the vanilla) of the state to stay out! Yet you and other blacks have yelled racism since the hurricane. Well, maybe this vanilla could get the money back that he has given to aid and rebuild the city. No, I don't want any money back, but you must understand that as a Louisianan, I'm trying to pull together with others to see the city rebuilt, but am getting tired of being call a racist. I thought Martin Luther King said we should judge a man by his character and not by his color. Just how far has the Civil Rights movement moved away from that idea?

Also, I didn't appreciate your comments about God punishing the United States for being in Iraq! Iraq is justified and needed. It seems if Pat Robertson says something similar, the media wants to crucify him, yet you get a pass when you say you talk to God and the dead. Is it possible for God to use us to punish Saddam for the thousand he murdered?

If I could vote in New Orleans, it wouldn't be for you. I guess in your mind that makes me a racist. In my mind, it makes me a good citizen: to vote for the most quality candidate no matter what his color is and one who weighs his words before speaking.

Gil Blanchard

Come on, Clancy!
As an African American living in the Atlanta area since Hurricane Katrina, I wasn't impressed by what was reported of Mayor Nagin's speech. I am really tired of people claiming to know what God wants or the reason why God does things. However, I disagree that the statements, however inane, were in any way racist.

It always fascinates me that white folks who take power and investiture (of office) for granted don't understand what it means to black folks to finally have enough critical mass of population to put some of our own people in office. It has taken the advent of the "chocolate city" syndrome to get some African-American big-city mayors. Maybe we need some "chocolate" states to get some governors and U.S. senators.

Of course, perhaps Nagin should have exhibited some finesse in articulating this desire for black political power.

At any rate, wasn't it your newspaper that gave a ringing endorsement of Nagin and helped him get elected? I was for Paulette Irons myself. Now that you've made your bed, you've got to lay in it. And I'll make a deal with you: I'll pledge my life and fortune to getting rid of this one if you'll oblige me by doing the same for the idiot residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Thanks.

Muhammad Yungai

Dear Mr. DuBos, I consider myself an avid reader of Gambit Weekly. I don't always agree with your point of view, but most often do. After reading your most recent commentary, I must say I found your view of our mayor overly harsh. I feel it is necessary to remind our people that before the storm, New Orleans was moving in a positive direction. New Orleans started to see some of its most prosperous years. Granted, a child could have done a better job than Marc Morial, as long as that child was not a product of the New Orleans Public Schools system, that is. If ever there was a problem that required all of our time, money and efforts, it is fixing our lackluster school system.

Now, don't think I'm trying to defend ol' Ray, far from it. Instead, I offer you a challenge. I would like to see you climb off the "political high horse" you ride, and take your own advice. Why don't you spend all of your time and money, and run for mayor of this great city? You seem to have a good idea of everything that Ray's done wrong, what can you do right?

Finally Mr. DuBos, if you spent as much time in your paper recommending solutions rather than listing problems, you might gain the support of the thousands of people who read your paper every week. Don't let Mitch Landrieu scare you. Pony on up and qualify.

Michael Naquin

I believe the government and others are looking for an excuse for not investing in the city anyway. I understood what [Nagin] was trying to say, although I disagree with the way he said it. I would agree that we need new leadership in the city, but one who does not solely concentrate on business matters and not social issues. When I hear people say that companies and the government will not invest or may think about investing due to Mayor Nagin's comment, I must laugh. Did these same people think about investing when you had David Duke (known racist) and Edwin Edwards (known crook) running for governor of the state of Louisiana?

Sheila Combs

Farewell, New Orleans
In 1970, Richard Bach, in his book Jonathan Livingston Seagull, wrote, "if you love something, set it free."

I've made the painful decision to leave New Orleans.

Why would one end a relationship with a city he loves? And why do I already know I'll cry enough tears to fill Lake Pontchartrain when I cross Interstate 10 heading north?

What's happened to our city is not only tragic, but criminal. Katrina the storm wreaked havoc and her water drowned our city, exposing to the world what's wrong with this place. Mother Nature hurt us, but human decisions directly led to the levee failures that almost killed us. And as we recover, it seems no one knows what to do. We don't need any more studies and committees.

People are saying it will take over ten (10) years to rebuild. At the age of 43, I've decided to place my energy elsewhere.

It hurts to admit and share this. I love this place. I adore its people and culture. There is no other place like New Orleans. I loved that there was never any rush-hour traffic if you lived in the city. I loved its laidback attitude, its culture. This city taught me that people, family and tradition are more important than work.

But now, all that's gone.

In parting, I am one of the lucky ones. I was fortunate in that I had both flood and homeowners insurance. And I was one of the few to have worked these last five months. But like my home in Mid-City, my job is now gone. I am down, but not out. But I will get up somewhere else to begin this "do-over."

Bless you, New Orleans. Thank you for letting me grow up here. I hope to see our unique political environment convince Washington that this is a place worth saving. I sure think it is. And I also hope to have the chance to return someday.

By that time, I'll ultimately realize what Bach was writing about: "If it comes back to you, then it was yours to begin with. If not, then it never was."

David L. Bowser

Easy Way Out
Gambit's defense of the BNOB Commission smacks of someone who doesn't have a home threatened by it and is so ignorant of the sting and cold chills the plan is bringing to low-income homeowners, particularly those African-American homeowners in the Lower Ninth Ward. The plan calls for a four-month time table in deciding what neighborhoods are viable. This is a ludicrous amount of time and is profoundly undemocratic, as this process has been from the very beginning.

This plan is transparently racist and classist, asking neighborhoods that were predominantly African-American working class, such as the Lower Ninth Ward, to be judged by the same merits as, say, Lakeview, where residents are better insured and more likely to rebuild.

Not to mention that some regard their neighborhoods as crime scenes, containing evidence of levee failure and destruction (remember the barge?), and whose rubble may still conceal bodies of loved ones. It is not a reach to propose that those citizens whose homes were flooded by levee failure are due not only the value of their homes, but damages as well for poorly designed and constructed levees.

I, for one, hope that Civil Rights groups are taking notice of this plan and begin to take action legally, to not only defend the rights of homeowners, but also to defend the right to return of African Americans whose ancestors built this city with their blood and sweat.

Gambit took the easy way out and defended the status quo in terms of leadership in this city. Hopefully, residents in those neighborhoods affected will not stand for this attack on their democratic rights as property owners and as citizens of New Orleans. I, for one, stand with Ninth and Lower Ninth Ward, and all neighborhoods in defending their right to rebuild.

Elizabeth Cook

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