Jordan the Hero

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.