My boy sent me this article today written by Melissa Harris-Lacewell. She's falling out of love with New Orleans. I'm sorry to hear that but I guess that’s one of the things that happens since we have so much new love after Katrina and that's always one of the dangers of new love. It can burn out real quick as soon as something happens that you don't like. My love for the city is that long, difficult and hard earned love. She doesn't give love back that easy. That's why I feel like you have to pay some dues before you can talk about her. You can read Ms. Harris-Lacewell's piece here but I will sum it up for you. Basically, she's upset because her boyfriend James Perry lost a bad election to Helena Moreno after not doing well in the mayor’s race. The part that doesn't upset me is the fact she is going all out for her boyfriend. I actually respect and admire that. I appreciate that kind of loyalty and James is a lucky man. The part that does upset me is her throwing the whole city under the bus. It's not that she was lying about some things about the city. There's racism, class warfare, corruption, and a majority of the voting base is disengaged. All those things are here but I don't think that's why things turned out for James the way they did.
I don't want to review everything that was done in both of James Perry's campaigns. New Orleans is a one name city. What I mean by that is that when people here have a good rapport with you and a certain level of trust they will call you by your first name or a nickname or some variation that signifies they know you personally. That's why a lot of people of all races felt comfortable voting for Mitch. He had that kind of recognition. That might not always be a positive but it is what it is. James Perry and all the other candidates running against Mitch Landrieu had the same problem. I never heard anyone say "I can't wait to James get in there and straighten things out." He never made that connection and that's why he had a good message that didn't reach enough people. If James Perry really wants to get out there and be successful in New Orleans politics he will work hard at being a man of the people. That's one of the things that we don't have right now and there are thousands of voters waiting for that person. He's got time to make that happen if that's what he really wants.
There is one thing in that article that I don't like and its when people excuse their own flaws by hiding behind the flaws of my city. This article makes it sound like an angel sent James Perry down from the clouds to lead us to the promise land but we were too messed up to realize it. What about the things he could have done differently? I have a close friend of mine that could never keep a job in New Orleans. He would always find one then get fired for all kinds of stupid reasons. What was his excuse? "New Orleans wanna see a brother struggle." He would say stuff like this so much that his wife talked him into moving to Atlanta. They got there and he's still getting fired from job after job for the same poor work habits he always had and blamed on New Orleans. One day we were on the phone and he was complaining about how the man was keeping him down in Atlanta I stopped him in mid-sentence and said "You know I have love for but maybe you are just a bad employee and it had nothing to do with New Orleans." I got love for James Perry but maybe he just ran two bad campaigns. He shouldn't be blaming us for that. He should be blaming the folks that ran his campaigns.