Jordan the Hero

October 30th, 2007 by Editor B

Often there’s little glory in doing the right thing. It can’t be easy to step down from a powerful political office. But Eddie Jordan did just that today. If we take him at his word, he did it for the good of New Orleans.

In January I said, “Shame on you, Mayor Nagin, Superintendent Riley, District Attorney Jordan. You have really let us down.” Months later I joined other local activists in calling for Jordan’s resignation.

In spite of all that, I am not jubilant over Jordan’s resignation. I can find no joy in another person’s pain. And surely this must be a painful moment for Jordan.

Recall that Jordan entered with impressive credentials. As US Attorney he’d prosecuted former governor Edwin Edwards. He was the first black DA in the history of New Orleans. Furthermore, he had an unparalleled flair for old-fashioned haberdashery.

But something wasn’t working for Jordan. The breaking point for me was when he dropped a quintuple murder case under extremely questionable circumstances. Some people say he was played by the NOPD, but I’m not sure I buy that. Then again, what do I know? Only this: something wasn’t working.

Jordan had a rare opportunity to make a painful choice for the greater good. Few thought he’d actually do it. But he did. You can view him as a sacrificial lamb if you like, but I prefer to think of him in a nobler light, as somebody who did the right thing even though it must have been difficult.

It must be noted that Jordan’s resignation doesn’t improve anything in itself. But to remain in office was detrimental to the recovery of New Orleans. Therefore, I salute Eddie Jordan as a hero, not for what he did as DA, but for being brave enough to confront his weakness and stand down for the greater good.

13 Responses to “Jordan the Hero”

  1. Adrastos Says:

    I think Jordan showed himself to be inept but not personally venal. Dollar Bill made him US Attorney and then wrecked his time as DA. As US Attorney, Jordan was a hack with a great staff and once his time was up, he was SOL. But he did the right thing today.

  2. dangerblond Says:

    Ya’ll are nicer than me, but you’re right. Time to look forward, not backward.

  3. alli Says:

    I’d tend to agree with you if he had resigned back before the judgement swelled with $2.2 million in interest, or after the January march, or after the dropped charges against Anderson and Bonds. Instead, he waited until an armed robbery and attempted murder suspect hangs out with his live-in girlfriend and then casually drops by his house after being wrecked by the guy he tried to rob. I know that sentence had a lot of pronouns, but y’all know what I’m talking about. Basically, Jordan waited until it got too ridiculous for him to save face or for his friends to bail him out, then he walked. I don’t think it’s heroic – I think it was a last-ditch effort to save some face.

    That being said, I have full confidence in Keva Landrum-Johnson. If only she could take over the office for the rest of Jordan’s term!

  4. Frank Schiavo Says:

    I hope the best for Keva Landrum-Johnson in the position, think the working relationship with the DA office & the Police MAY improve with the change [not sure about that part, though] and I look forward to a speedy and fair solution to the current lawsuit[s] against the office.

  5. J.B. Says:

    I think you’re being too kind, and I am convinced he is stepping down because somebody has something impossibly bad on him, possibly relating to the “missing hours” when Jordan was unreachable after the cop-shooter visited his house.

    Jordan is NOT a hero. Belatedly giving way beneath the overwhelming, crushing pressure of your own accumulated incompetence is not heroic. And any “pain” Jordan is experiencing is entirely his own fault, unlike the pain of the victims and families whose legal redress Jordan stymied.

    Jordan stepping down does significantly improve things: it allows Keva Landrum-Johnson to take charge of prosecuting criminals in New Orleans. To quote a refreshingly cogent user-comment on the Times-Picayune story: Girls rule, boys drool!

    Go, Keva, kick some butt!

  6. Anthony Says:

    Considering the footage from the rally that has played accompanying this story made you the poster boy for anger directed Jordan’s way, that’s a really mellow approach. That’s a very sunny view of things… I think he was pushed out. And I think that was a good thing. I think he put on a brave face and did the requisite “spend time with my family” talk but I don’t think he went happily and I am not convinced he went willingly. But when you are a politician and your positives are hovering around 4% (which may be the size of the criminal population in this city) and your office depends on at least the tacit approval and cooperation with the citizens of this city, then the writing is on the wall. He is at least smart enough to read it.

    Let’s hope the criminal justice system, all aspects of it, begin to work now. Perhaps Mr. Jordan’s resignation will light a fire under the rest of them.

  7. matter Says:

    B. Rox seems to be engaging in some serious rose-colored malarkey here. When he ran for D.A., we were indeed promised the guy who got Edwards. But then it turned out that no, all he did was sign off on the prosecution, at most. Jim Letten did the heavy lifting on that gig. Then there was, of course, the $20k Cleo Fields stuffed in his pants, caught on video by the FBI, which Jordan declined to look into, let alone prosecute.

    Once he was elected, it went straight downhill. I think that Ray Nagin (and probably severa other parties) ultimately put the hurt on him, telling him to resign, or else. The thing that really galls me is that he never once took responsibility for his civil rights violations. Instead, it was deny, deny, deny.

    If Jordan wants to be a hero, the thing for him to do is turn over everything he has on Dollar Bill to the Feds.

  8. Frolic Says:

    He’s far from a hero. From what I can tell, he only left when a private sector job was lined up for him. In the end, it was all about taking care of Eddie.

    I’m happy he’s gone, and I hope he is feeling shame today. This country is far too forgiving of people who fail in public office.

  9. mominem Says:

    Time to move on.

    I had great hopes for Jordan when he was elected.

    I have great hopes for his replacement and his replacement’s replacement.

    I hope this detour doesn’t result in another round of firings, hirings and resignations.

  10. Karen Says:

    Eddie was bailed out, he didn’t bow out. The Business community held a gun to Rays head, and then the dominos fell. Eddie would still be there today if it was up to Eddie.

  11. Brian Says:

    i get the rightness of falling on one’s sword, but in the end, i feel he has blood on his hands and that forgiveness might come after some penance, which i don’t expect. i think jb has a point re: heading off other troubles/guilts.

  12. Max Says:

    I have no kind words for Jordan. Between the case mangling and office mismanagement and discrimination suit, I believe being offered the opportunity to resign and take a position in private practice is more than he deserved.

    Apathy and incompetence from the mayor is one thing, but from a DA it is unforgivable.

    BTW, city council candidate du jour Malcom Suber classified the resignation as a “coup staged by the white ruling class.”

  13. Sanjay Says:

    Check out today’s (Wed) NY Times. Eddie was never at work. Who can run an office or save the City of NO if they don’t go to work? Eddie didn’t care about the City. His US Attorney gig and his famous hat, which got him lots of publicity, did him in. Think Brittany. He thought he could do no wrong.

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