"This type of disrespectful name-calling has no place in government," Nagin said in a letter this week to Lupin
...During a commission meeting last week, Lupin was among several members criticizing Sanitation Director Veronica White's insistence that French Quarter residents must begin putting out their trash in wheeled plastic bins that are designed to be lifted by mechanized arms on new garbage trucks.
"I don't understand Ms. White's obstinance other than that she's a bitch," Lupin
...Lupin, a former member of the Human Relations Commission, has not apologized for his comment but has denied that it was either sexist or racist.Lupin
is white; White is African-American.
Nagin, who has strongly backed White on the issue of requiring use of the trash bins citywide, including in the Quarter, cannot simply fire Lupin
as either a member or the chairman of the Vieux Carre Commission
Nagin said Lupin
has "the right as a person to express disagreement with policies of city government.
said Tuesday he
regrets that the controversy over his
comment has deflected attention away from the issue of the garbage bins.
Lupin's comment about White drew exclamations of surprise and dismay from other commission members during last week's meeting, but no one called on him to withdraw it.The other members appeared all to side with him on the issue of the garbage bins. Lupin
defended himself Tuesday against allegations that he
is a sexist or a racist.
"I'm a gynecologist," Lupin
said."You can't be a sexist if you're a gynecologist."
said, "to accuse me, given my history, of being a racist just angers me." During his
45 years as a doctor, he
has insisted on treating black and white patients equally, even when that was not common practice, and today most of his
patients are black, including many who are unable to pay for his
services. Lupin, who is also a lawyer and a brigadier general in the Louisiana National Guard, said he spent several days in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina helping to provide medical care to New Orleanians, most of them poor and black, who had taken shelter there. Lupin, whose term on the Vieux Carre Commission has expired but who has continued to serve because no successor has been nominated and confirmed by the City Council, said he does not intend to resign and will remain an active member until a successor is chosen. The commission chooses its own chairman, and the other members could decide to replace Lupin in that role even if he remains a member.He has been the chairman since late 2001 and has a history of making blunt, forceful comments, particularly about people he thought were trying to damage historic buildings or to violate the commission's rules. Lupin
attended a meeting Tuesday of the commission's Architectural Committee
and read a statement about his
would release a copy of it, but it had not arrived several hours later.