You've gotta love Ray Nagin; he really is the voice of calm and reason for New Orleans.
Within the past 24 hours, he's called Hurricane Gustav "the mother of all storms," "the storm of the century" (pretty dubious considering that Katrina wiped half of his city off the map only three years ago), and told residents, "you need to be scared."
While media outlets everywhere are no doubt loving Nagin for doing their jobs for them by throwing out one hyperbolically alarmist soundbite after another, is it really good for New Orleans that he's acting more like a mad street prophet -- albeit, one on Quaaludes -- than an assured leader?
Yes, the situation is very serious, and that needs to be made clear to everyone in the path of this storm. Gustav is nothing to screw around with and ordering mandatory evacuations was the right thing to do, to say the least. But I'm not sure Nagin's usual idiotic bluster and over-the-top language -- the kind that incites panic rather than encouraging cool heads -- are what's needed at a time like this.
Then again, maybe I'm making the mistake of basing my opinion on the assumption that New Orleans is like most other cities and not completely fucking crazy.