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Context of 'August 26, 2005: New Orleans Mayor Considers Tax to Fight Crime, Improve Public Safety'

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Mayor Ray Nagin, a Democrat and a former cable television executive, is sworn into office as the mayor of New Orleans Parish, succeeding Marc H. Morial. (US Conference of Mayors 5/13/2002; Josh Fecht 9/28/2005)

Today’s Times-Picayune reports that New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin may ask voters to approve a special tax to improve public safety in the city. Increasingly frustrated with the city’s rising murder rate, Nagin wants to “ask voters to tax themselves to help pay for several items aimed at curbing violent crime in the city: additional police officers, higher salaries for cops, better computer systems, more crime cameras and enhanced recreational and youth programs.” “I think this is kind of a put-up-or-shut-up moment,” Nagin said. “How concerned are you, City of New Orleans, about fixing this problem?” Nagin, who seemed poised for unchallenged reelection, acknowledged that some might question the sanity of proposing a big idea that could invite a challenger into the race. “At the end of the day, I may go down as the craziest man that’s ever run for public office in the City of New Orleans’ history,” he said. (Times-Picayune 8/29/2005)

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin tells local WWLTV that, “Come the first break of light in the morning, you may have the first mandatory evacuation of New Orleans.” Nagin states that that his legal staff is researching whether he can order a mandatory evacuation of the city, a step he’s been hesitant to do because of potential liability on the part of the city for closing hotels and other businesses. (Nolan 8/28/2005)

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin announces that a curfew will be imposed at 6:00 pm. (Times-Picayune Blog 8/28/2005) Other parishes impose similar curfews. (Times-Picayune Blog 8/28/2005; Times-Picayune Blog 8/28/2005)

Water is spilling over the floodwall (part of the levee system) in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward, especially in the Florida Avenue area, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin reports, in an early morning interview with a local radio station. According to Nagin, the Florida Avenue pumping station is not working, and there are unconfirmed reports of people standing on their roofs. “There is a significant amount of water in the 9th Ward.” Other residents have reported flooding in the 9th Ward. According to one resident, houses near the Claiborne Avenue Bridge are taking on water. (Times-Picayune Blog 8/26/2005)

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