Ray Nagin

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Clarence Ray Nagin, Jr.

In office
Preceded by Marc Morial
Succeeded by Mitch Landrieu

Born June 11, 1956
New Orleans, Louisiana

Resident of Dallas, Texas

Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Seletha Smith Nagin

Three children

Alma mater Tuskegee Institute
Occupation Accountant

Clarence Ray Nagin, Jr. (born June 11, 1956), is the former mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana, who served from 2002 to 2010. A Democrat, he gained national prominence in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when his failed evacuation of the city led to the death of some one thousand citizens. Though Nagin blamed the deaths on the George W. Bush Republican administration, the mayor's critics said that the deaths were caused by the inaction of Nagin, who forbade the use of hundreds of New Orleans city buses for evacuation purposes.

Nagin also sparked controversy on Martin Luther King Day 2006, when he said of the rebuilding of New Orleans:

"We ask black people: it's time. It's time for us to come together. It's time for us to rebuild a New Orleans, the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans. And I don't care what people are saying Uptown or wherever they are. This city will be chocolate at the end of the day. This city will be a majority African-American city. It's the way God wants it to be. You can't have New Orleans no other way."[1]

After the statement, he insisted he wasn't being divisive: "How do you make chocolate? You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink. That is the chocolate I am talking about." He subsequently apologized for the statement.[2]

In the 2006 mayoral election, Nagin defeated later Mayor Mitch Landrieu based in part on an endorsement that Nagin received from the Republican mayoral candidate Rob Couhig, a businessman who was eliminated after the primary balloting. Nagin became involved in further controversy when he referred to Ground Zero in New York City as a "hole in the ground". He was critical of the rebuilding effort there. He was ineligible to seek a third term as mayor in 2010, and the position went to his former opponent, Mitch Landrieu, who was then the Louisiana lieutenant governor.

In 2014, former Mayor Nagin was convicted on twenty of twenty-one charges of wire fraud, bribery, and money laundering related to bribes from city contractors before and after Hurricane Katrina. He was sentenced to ten years in federal prison.[3] In April 2020, Nagin was released from the prison in Texarkana, Texas, to return to his home in Dallas. The early release was a reaction to the coronavirus scare.[4]


  1. http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/frontpage/index.ssf?/news/t-p/stories/011706_nagin_transcript.html
  2. https://www.cnn.com/2006/US/01/17/nagin.city/
  3. Robert McClendon (February 12, 2014). Live Coverage: Ray Nagin convicted, guilty on 20 charges. The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved on May 1, 2018.
  4. Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin released from prison. KPEL radio in Lafayette (April 28, 2020).