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New Orleans mayor, quarantined in China, is curiously quiet

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The Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, is not known as a shrinking violet. The 2005 radio interview he gave in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, in which he forcefully and expletively drew the Bush administration’s attention to just how dire his city’s situation was, still rings in listeners’ ears.

But he seems to have been curiously quiet, or perhaps just an exemplary citizen, when he got caught up here last weekend in global swine flu fears.

Mr. Nagin, his wife, and a bodyguard arrived last Saturday in Shanghai on a flight from Newark N.J., trying to drum up Chinese business for New Orleans. He had the misfortune to have been seated within three rows of a French passenger who showed symptoms of A(H1N1) flu, and so – like everyone else who had sat in the victim’s vicinity – he was taken to a Shanghai hotel and shut up in quarantine.

He could have pulled rank, tried a bit of mayoral swagger, blown some hot air about the importance of his business. But, according to the Shanghai Flu Control and Prevention Center, which began to wonder why it was getting so many calls from local and foreign journalists, he hadn’t made a squeak.

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