NEW ORLEANS – Former mayor of New Orleans Marc Morial has described the tenure of Mayor Ray Nagin as eight years of “fumbling, stumbling and bumbling” that has damaged the city and its national reputation.
“The mayor has been long on talk and short on action,” Morial said during an Inauguration Day interview on the Eyewitness Morning News.
Morial, the current head of the National Urban League, said he refrained from commenting on the administration during Nagin’s time in office because he thought it wasn’t appropriate while he was still in serving as mayor of New Orleans.
He said he feels he needs to be candid with the residents of the city, since he says the image of the city and its administration has taken a real hit nationally.
“I work in those circles - Capitol Hill, the business circles of America - and the image that has been conveyed is one of ineptitude, one of incompetence," said Morial, who was mayor from May 1994 until May 2002.
Nagin defeated Richard Pennington, Morial's police chief, for mayor in the 2002 election.
Morial thinks the current state of the city’s police department – especially all of the federal investigations surrounding police conduct - is telling and he blames the Nagin administration for the situation.
“The complete dismantling of police reform,” he said when asked what his biggest frustration with Nagin’s years was. “It was in effect taken apart brick by brick or by neglect. The fact that you have these massive federal investigations and rising crime, it speaks for itself.”
Morial said he has a good relationship with the incoming mayor, who he says has a chance to turn the page and bring New Orleans back to the “great city” it can be.