NEW ORLEANS -- Current New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called Wednesday a “sad day” for the city of New Orleans, after his predecessor, Ray Nagin, was found guilty of 20 out of 21 corruption counts against him in U.S. District Court.
Landrieu said he wasn’t angry about the former mayor's corruption convictions, but that he's severely disappointed.
Landrieu ran against Ray Nagin for mayor in 2006. It was a controversial election with many voters still displaced just months after the city dried out from hurricane Katrina. Nagin won re-election that year, beating Landrieu, who was lieutenant governor at the time.
To see someone who beat him at the polls convicted on 20 corruption counts, Landrieu simply said he hopes it closes a “kind of ugly chapter in the history of the city.”
“That kind of behavior doesn't reflect the heart and soul of the people of the city of New Orleans and the rest of the nation knows that. So, know it's time to look forward as we have been for the past four years. And we'll continue to make the strides we've made in the recent past,” Landrieu said.
When asked to reflect on the 2006 election and how the history between the two played out, Landrieu said, “It's hard to go back and really kind of re-do the past. It really is important from where I sit that four years ago, the people of New Orleans, for really good reasons, to go in a very, very different direction and that's what they've charged me to do.”
Landrieu spoke at a press conference for the beginning of NBA All Star weekend in the city, when a national spotlight will shine on New Orleans once again, after shining on New Orleans Wednesday for one of the most historic and high-ranking corruption convictions in the city’s history.
Landrieu also issued a written statement Wednesday in response to the Nagin verdict:
"This is a very sad day for the people of the city of New Orleans. The conviction of former Mayor Nagin is another clear indication that the people of this city will not tolerate public corruption or abuse of power. Four years ago, the people of this city turned the page on that sad chapter for New Orleans and on the old way of doing business. We are moving forward and are restoring the public's trust in government. Our city's best days are ahead of us."