|Mayor C. Ray Nagin has defied the conventional wisdom from the beginning of his political life.
His surprise victory in the New Orleans mayoral election in May 2002, proved that New Orleanians were looking for the city's leadership to take bold new steps to protect their future. He became the first New Orleans mayor to rise to the post in nearly 60 years without holding a previous elected office. Nagin put his career as a successful business executive on hold to lead the city where he was born.
Shortly after he was elected, Mayor Nagin revealed that he would not tolerate the atmosphere of political corruption that pervaded city government. He instituted a criminal and administrative probe with the help of the New Orleans Police Department and the Metropolitan Crime Commission - an area watchdog group - that resulted in the arrest of 84 city workers and the restructuring of the New Orleans Utilities Department. Mayor Nagin is resolved to erase the image of New Orleans as place where graft is part of the old-world charm. New Orleans is now open for business!.
The success or failure of New Orleans will largely be determined by its ability to work with surrounding cities and parishes. Mayor Nagin has proven his commitment to regionalism isn't just political posturing. In July 2002, he convened a meeting of leaders from three parishes to plan the future of Louis Armstrong International Airport. The airport, owned by New Orleans but located in the city of Kenner and St. Charles Parish, presents a number of thorny political issues, but the mayor believes those can be resolved for the benefit of the metropolitan community.
Before becoming Mayor, Nagin served as the vice president and general manager for Cox Communications in Southeast Louisiana. He transformed the local operations of the cable company from one of Cox's poorest performing markets to one of its most profitable assets. He hired a staff that put a new emphasis on customer service and used technology to gain efficiency. Those two strategies are playing key roles in Nagin's efforts to transform City Hall as well.
Mayor Nagin earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting at Tuskegee University in 1978 and received a Masters of Business Administration at Tulane University in 1994.
He is married to Seletha Smith Nagin. They have three children, Jeremy, Jarin and Tianna, and live near Bayou St. John in New Orleans.