Protestors find offense in Nagin receiving an award for recovery
01:35 AM CDT on Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday evening Mayor Ray Nagin will be honored for what some are calling his courage and leadership during the New Orleans recovery. The award ceremony is being held in a ballroom at the top of the Ritz Carlton.
It’s not only constituents who are upset by the award, but also the president of the City Council. It all started with the invitation to the ceremony, mailed out by the mayor’s personal photographer, Bernardo Wade, who is actually responsible for planning the whole thing.
Inside the invitation, it says a group chaired by Wade, called the Excellence in Recovery Host Committee, recognized Nagin for his courage and leadership. It also says they’ll recognized Katrina survivors.
On the back, it lists about 50 individuals who make up the committee, which include civic leaders, as well as politicians. One of the group’s co-chairs is City Council President Jackie Clarkson, but she opted not to attend.
Clarkson says when she was asked to serve on the committee she was never told it was to honor the mayor, she thought it was purely to recognize survivors. She says it’s not appropriate to recognize the mayor or any other elected official.
Nagin was presented the award by retired Lt. General Russell Honore, the man whom led federal troops into New Orleans following the storm.
When asked about the controversy, Nagin said he feels the ceremony is being misunderstood. He says while he may have been used as a headliner for the award, there are others who will also be recognized tonight. Nagin, however, wouldn’t say whether he thought he deserved the award.
“There’s going to some debate about that, but I’m here to accept it on behalf of myself and all the people that have struggled throughout the recovery.”
The mayor was quick to point that the ceremony was a private affair and used no public funding.
“This committee, that’s a private committee decided to give me an award, so I really don’t see a big deal about that.”
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