Community reflects on Nagin's sentence


Posted on July 9, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 9 at 5:40 PM

Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

NEW ORLEANS - Former Mayor Ray Nagin's sentence was the talk of the town Wednesday, not only among local leaders and legal analysts, but the victims in this corruption case: the public.

"He got off easy," said 9th Ward resident Natasha Howard. "With the damage that he did, he should have got the max."

"I think it's great. I think it's deserved," says Westbank mother and social worker Courtney Nathan. "I think he did it and he needs to serve his time."

"I think he should have taken the plead deal that was offered to him," agrees John Johnson. "He gambled and he lost."

As news spread that former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin will spend the next 10 years behind bars, one thing became clear, the community has no sympathy for the man convicted of accepting thousands of dollars in bribes and taking lavish vacations on the taxpayer's dime.

"It's a sad day in New Orleans," said restaurant owner Mike Serio. "Another sad day, another long line. What is this, 17 politicians throughout the state now convicted of Katrina fraud? It's sad."

Even as Nagin walked into Wednesday's hearing, he maintained his innocence, and it's that lack of remorse and accountability that has residents most upset.

"You still saying you didn't do it, I'm innocent. The people of New Orleans are not buying that," said Patrice Martin. "You did it, they caught you, you got caught, now take your lick."

"It's very frustrating," says Nathan. "I think people would like to see a little contrition, but I don't think he is ever going to acknowledge or own what he did."

Residents say they hope one good thing comes from his conviction -- that it will send a message to other elected officials that New Orleans has entered a new era, one where those entrusted to represent the community will be held accountable for what they do.