NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said on Tuesday that if he could, he would take back some of the comments that he made during a Martin Luther King Day rally a day earlier.
"I used some analogies and probably didn't hit the mark on my message. But I never intended to offend anyone," Nagin told FOX News. Referring to his critics, he said, "I think if they look at the entire context of what I said, they'll understand the points I was trying to make."
Critics lashed out at Nagin, who said the violence and fighting after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita was the result of God's anger at the United States.
"Surely God is mad at America. He sent us hurricane after hurricane after hurricane, and it's destroyed and put stress on this country," said Nagin, while he and other city leaders marked Martin Luther King Day.
"Surely he doesn't approve of us being in Iraq under false pretenses. But surely he is upset at black America also. We're not taking care of ourselves," he said.
Nagin's speech at the rally also used a statement that God wanted New Orleans to be majority African-American.
"If I could take anything back, that's what I would take back," Nagin told FOX News. "That was a private conversation I had with a minister a couple of weeks ago. For some reason, and at the moment, that came forth."
The mayor said he was trying to comfort blacks by stressing that they are welcome in New Orleans. Nagin added that his comments stemmed from frustrations about violence and confusion about selected people being allowed back to the devastated city.
Nagin did not respond to comments he made saying that New Orleans will be a "chocolate" city again.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.