Even though Blanco had lost much of her respect for Nagin, she phoned him after that meeting. “I called him–like that night, and said, ‘Ray, you need to get out of town. You need to go sleep somewhere.’ What was going on was that he was locked up [in] the Hyatt and anyone who wanted to see him had to climb 24 [sic] flights of stairs, and he was afraid to come out. But he’d come out once a day or something like that and go make some crazy remarks to the media and then go hide. I said, ‘Go sleep somewhere for a couple of days and then come back into it.’ Well, then he left for five days! In the heat of everything that was going on, he’s screaming about no leadership and he’s a total void.”
Those five days began on Wednesday, September 7. During that period, Nagin left New Orleans. He went to Dallas. He leased a house. “Why,” Nagin wondered, “would a governor of the state of Louisiana be ticked about that?
I don’t get that. I mean, I took care of my city as best I could. I got it organized. I got rescues. I got just about everybody out. I didn’t leave until that last bus left New Orleans. Then I went to take care of my family. Why does that upset somebody?”
In N.O.P.D. circles, Nagin’s handle over the police radio had been “New Orleans One.” Now, furious that Nagin had abandoned them (and had secured a home while New Orleans was underwater) some in the police force dubbed him “Dallas One.” A few officers even made “Dallas One” signs as a protest, posting them around the makeshift Sixth District headquarters at the Wal-Mart on Tchoupitoulas Street. “I pulled the signs down,” police superintendent Eddie Compass recalled. “I told the guys it just wasn’t good for the city.”