Ex-recovery czar: Whites used Katrina to put their foot back on black people’s throats
Months after resigning from a controversial two year stint as the New Orleans storm recovery czar, Ed Blakely said that “everyone’s a racist” and that whites who “sense blood in the water” are plotting to “put their foot back on black people’s throats,” WDSU reports.
“Everyone’s a racist. It’s part of what we have in this country, but it’s deeper, more viral, more visible and more entrenched in New Orleans than any place I’ve ever seen,” Blakely told CalTV, the University of California-Berkeley’s online television station.
Blakely adds, “Now, the white community, there’s blood in the water, and they can recapture the political apparatus and kind of put their foot back on black people’s throats.”
The Times-Picayune notes, “Controversial comments are nothing new for Blakely, who in a New York Times interview during his tenure at City Hall called some New Orleanians ‘buffoons.’ Typically, his statements have been filled with bravado about what he did to engineer the city’s recovery. This time, however, he said he never really wanted to oversee the recovery and should have left his post earlier than June.”
“I should have left a little earlier, for two reasons: One, my health wasn’t good,” Blakely says. “Secondly, I had other things I wanted to do, and administering a recovery is not one of them.”
The Times-Picayune reports, “It later emerged that Nagin paid the University of Sydney in Australia $100,000 from an off-budget fund, in addition to paying Blakely his $150,000 salary directly.”
In April of 2007, The Times reported that Blakely “refer[red] to the city’s racial factions as ‘a bit like the Shiites and Sunnis,’ call[ed] the civic elite ‘insular,’ and sa[id] the newcomers he wants to draw here will be impatient with local ‘buffoons.’”
However, Blakely later “issued two responses to the Times article, claiming that writer Adam Nossiter quoted him out of context or completely misquoted him.”
“Unless the next mayor is very clever, it’s going to explode and there are going to be race riots,” Blakely predicts in the CalTV interview.
Blakely said “the forces of nature are such that it’s unlikely” that New Orleans would exist in 100 years.
“Because if the Mississppi (River) blows and a hurricane comes at the same time, New Orleans would be wiped off the map. And that’s a likely event.”