Monday, April 24, 2006


Saturday’s election in New Orleans had barely finished when the major media began to characterize it as a race about race. Nothing could be further from the truth.

With a runoff between the incumbent black mayor and the son of a white former mayor, the news people have their headlines and sound bytes all pre-written and ready to go. “Whites poised to regain power.” “Blacks struggle to maintain control.” “A city divided seeks a uniter.”

Here’s what one New Orleans blogger has to say about that: baloney!

Ray Nagin became our mayor not because a whole lot of black people voted for him; he won the job because a whole lot of white people supported his fresh, business-like approach to public office. And Mitch Landrieu, rather than playing the part of the Great White Hope, actually has a reputation of support across racial lines.

Both men play to the middle. Forget Nagin’s ramblings about Chocolate City. That’s about as racist as Ross Perot’s comment about “you people” while speaking to the NAACP.

Never forget that New Orleans is a port city. And like every other major port, our city has been influenced by the absorption of many different people from many different lands. Sure we’ve got a French Quarter, but we also have an Irish Channel and Gert Town, and we have an Italian Parade and a large Vietnamese community, too.

Let me tell you about the last few days. This week we ate at a Tunisian restaurant where the owner talked to my Darling Wife in French, and a Mediterranean restaurant where belly dancers performed in the aisles as we ate. We voted at the Greek Orthodox Church on Saturday as shown in the picture take by my Precious Daughter. Later that same day, we ate boiled crawfish with some of my co-workers, including natives of Honduras, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Texas. (Don’t they say the Lone Star State is like another country?)

And at all these locations, Americans, black and white, were working, eating, living and playing together.

So let’s just cut this race-based Mayor’s race nonsense right now. We need a mayor who can lead the city into rebirth--not just one ethnic group of citizens, not just certain parts of the population--all of us.

I would thank the media to put aside the profit motive for just this once.


Anonymous said...

Exactly, Tim.

I swear, that's why I read blogs, the T-P, and WWL. I don't care what the rest of the country thinks, because they're wrong, they're clueless. I don't care what happens out there, just what happens here.

And here, we're not all about race. They are.

There's no more segregated city than Chicago, and they're reporting on how our elections are divided along racial lines. The runoff will have no racial trends whatsoever. None. Mark my words.

Anonymous said...

Well said! I get so tired of the media framing it all in terms of race. There are times where it IS about race, but this is not one of them.

TravelingMermaid said...

Thank you, Tim and thank you, Ashley. Where else in this country can you find so many different races/cultures living in the same neighborhoods side by side? Not to say there aren't segregated sections or bigots here but I would dare any other city in the U.S. to compare their demographics in relation to co-mingling to ours. But of course the truth isn't as sensational as the myth.

Mr. Clio said...

The NY Times got Mardi Gras all wrong. If you believe Adam Nossiter, no black people attended.

I don't know what parades he went to, but Carnival was a beautiful, diverse thing this year. Endymion, Bacchus, Rex, Zulu--for all of them, the parades felt about the same, except happier.

Race-based writing is an easy gig. That's why they do it.

Roux said...

It certainly would be nice for the race-baiters to stay out of the runoff but unfortunately politics brings out the worst in some.

What NOLA needs is a leader. He has to be tough because there are tough decisions to be made but a real leader. I hope y'all find one in the choices you have.