New Orleans Reveals $1M Influence Campaign

New Orleans, LA (APE) – On the heels of the unveiling of the state of Louisiana’s $7M tourism campaign yesterday, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin today revealed that the city had instituted a stealth influence campaign within a month after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. To date, the successful campaign has doled out just over one million dollars to influential politicians in Washington, and Nagin credits the campaign with the return of President Bush to the flood damaged gulf coast. Bush has returned to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast six times since Katrina in high profile photo opportunities, with the most recent being yesterday.

Critics were skeptical of the Mayor’s claims, stating that the President’s visits were most likely purely politically motivated.

Nagin responded, “Oh, please… let’s be real. We have arguably the worst natural disaster in America’s history, and the blame has been placed squarely on his administration. Go look at the tapes from last week. Why would the man have any interest in coming back here? All the political capital that was possibly salvageable is now laying piled up in refuse heaps in the Ninth Ward.”

Nagin continued, “Louisiana politics has a long and storied history. We have a certain tradition about getting things accomplished. While we might have gotten off to a bad start with the Bush Administration, I think (that) they and the Republicans in power have discovered that there’s much more in common. The recent plea agreement by Jack Abramoff has been a real boon to us. It essentially took out the middle man and resulted in more bang for the buck.”

Nagin refused to feel guilty in regards to ethical concerns about the campaign. “We’ve got folks hanging by their last thread and even dying here. I will do what I have to (do) to keep New Orleans on life support, and bring her back to life. No one’s pulling the plug on my watch.”

Nagin cited the fruits of the campaign, with the return of a smaller scale Mardi Gras last month and progress on the city’s levees. The Army corps of engineers has stated publicly that they are on track to complete a repaired levee system by June which should be almost as good as the system that failed during Katrina.

“‘Come for the people. Come for the beignets,’ is what the TV ad from the new Louisiana campaign says,” stated Nagin. “To the folks in Washington, I say, ‘Come for the levies. Let us put them to work for you.'”