Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has completed the Louisiana Political Leadership Master’s program three years early and is now ready to take on the world.
The Louisiana Political Leadership Master’s Program trains and prepares politicians for top-level leadership positions across the state and typically takes 10-to-life to complete. The precocious Ray Nagin finished in five and a half. Those who complete the prerequisites and finish are granted full access to all of Louisiana in every way possible.
In 2014, a jury of his peers recommended Nagin pursue the Master’s program after flashing potential with wire fraud, tax evasion, and bribery, among other skills during his time as mayor of New Orleans. Discovering he had a knack for high-level politics, Nagin accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from a wide variety of sources to finance his enrollment into the program.
The New Orleans phenom has watched Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards struggle with COVID-19 challenges and other state issues over the last several years. Now, released from the program and armed with a Master’s, Ray Nagin is setting his sights on something greater.
“Being a mayor in a poor city limited my abilities so much. There was never a strategy or plan or big ideas that would make you go ‘wow!'” Nagin said, who noted his eyes were completely blown open by top instructors Edwin Edwards, William Jefferson, Michael O’Keefe, Derrick Shepherd, Doug Green, and Katrina-time buddy Aaron Broussard, among others.
Nagin, who served as mayor of New Orleans from 2002 to 2010, became a national figure during the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and afterward, getting a taste for the limelight that a smalltime local office couldn’t quench.
“With a Master’s [in Louisiana Political Leadership], I feel like I can do and get so much more. Whether it’s as governor or treasurer or whatever, I feel like I’m finally ready to take my place among our state’s great leaders and lead Louisiana into the past.”
While there is talk he could run against Mayor LaToya Cantrell to reclaim his old post and currently leads a poll of locals 87% to 10%, Nagin says two years is too long to wait and wants to focus on making a bigger impact.
“I want more. It’s time I put all of this energy and knowledge into action. It’s flattering to know my people love me and want me back but I couldn’t do that to LaToya. She’s doing a great job and has a lot of potential. In fact, as an alumnus, I’d be honored to recommend her for the program.”
Louisiana is the only state in the nation that requires its higher-level leaders to do a stretch in its Master’s program before taking office.