NEW ORLEANS (AP) — When Ray Nagin was elected mayor in 2002, there was real hope that he was a break from the city's sleazy past.
Three years later, with his city awash in foul water and rotting corpses, he became something of a national cult hero, raging against the slow, incompetent federal response to his crippled city's plight.
"Excuse my French — everybody in America — but I am pissed," he shouted during a radio appearance three days after Hurricane Katrina swamped the Crescent City.
In the end, though, Ray Nagin turned out to be a feckless mayor and, as a federal judge saw it, a lightweight criminal.
"He started out as a rock star and he ended up as just another crass, corrupt politician," said University of New Orleans Political Science Professor Ed Chervenak.
Nagin, a 58-year-old former cable television manager, was sentenced to 10 years in prison today for bribery, money laundering, fraud and tax violations stemming from his two terms as New Orleans' mayor from 2002-2010.