Sunday, September 14, 2008

Trying "to lighten the mood"

Posted By on Sun, Sep 14, 2008 at 4:13 AM

The "Mayor Ray Nagin Special Rate" for Hurricane Ike evacuees looking for rooms? Now, in an official statement, it turns out that the Lord Mayor was only trying "to lighten the mood":

Mayor Ray Nagin says he was only joking when he suggested that Hurricane Ike evacuees should request a discount — the "Nagin special" — when they stay at New Orleans hotels.

But when evacuees got baffled looks from reservation clerks, some didn't find it funny.

Nagin's remark prompted a hotel association to send an e-mail urging business owners to make appropriate accommodations in the spirit of cooperation. The association also said Saturday that it is against federal antitrust laws for hotels to collectively agree on rates.

Nagin says in a statement it was a joke and just "my attempt to lighten the mood."

Hard to tell whose mood was most lightened by this -- looks like a draw among the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association, and the commenters on this Houston Chronicle page.

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