Government & Politics

John Georges: "I am you"

Mayoral candidate John Georges says he knows what it’s like to run an operation such as New Orleans City Hall. After all, he reasoned recently, many of his 1,000 employees at Imperial Trading and his other companies are single mothers making about $10 an hour – plus benefits!

“We have what I believe the culture of City Hall is…9- to 10-dollar-an-hour people,” Georges said Wednesday during his featured appearance at the Mayoral Speakeasy Series. The weekly series focuses on one candidate at a time, and it’s sponsored by The Urban Conservancy and the Trumpet advertising agency.

It may be tough for a guy worth an estimated $100 million to appreciate, but $21,000 – before taxes – a year doesn’t go as far as it used to. And it never really went that far, especially when supporting a family.

In an attempt to paint himself as a populist candidate, he touted his own awakening after Katrina and how he ran for governor.

“I rose up. People said, ‘Who are you?’  and I said, ‘I am you.’ I just did it louder, bigger and stepped further closer to government.”

By using his own company as a model for City Hall, it makes you wonder if he thinks the dissatisfaction among employees is just a management issue.

With all the talk on the campaign trail of bringing in high-paying jobs and growing the city and local economy, it seems unlikely that the Georges model will provide that sort of catalytic push the city needs.

To be fair, the jobs Georges’ companies compare favorably to some openings, and they’re well above the national minimum wage of $7.25.  ( Fourteen states have set a higher minimum wage; not surprisingly, Louisiana is not one of them).

Using an employer’s logic, perhaps a $10-an-hour job for a single mother is a good gig. But with the higher rents and utility costs in Orleans Parish, it is even more difficult to stretch that paycheck to accommodate the needs of a single working mother.

Then again, Georges’ businesses are located in Jefferson Parish.

Here’s the entire 42:20-minute video.

Speakeasy Series – John Georges (low quality) from DocNO Productions on Vimeo.

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About Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led to guilty pleas in federal court. Her work attracted some of journalism's highest honors, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a gold medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors. She can be reached at (504) 606-6013.

  • Running the city like his company? So he’s going to support the city on video poker revenue?

  • Stan

    I am so relieved that his poll numbers are low and he hasn’t a chance of getting elected mayor. If he were close in this race I would be extremely nervous. This man is so clueless it’s astonishing.