Dear Fellow Chocolatarians:

What’s all the fuss about? Mayor Ray Nagin – or, as his close friends like to call him, Count Chocula – why is everyone criticizing the guy for thinking out of the box? Okay, so it was a Valentine’s box, but maybe his heart was in the right place.

Everyone thinks Hurricane Katrina has given the city a chance for a new beginning, so what better way to begin than with a new name? New Orleans. Nothing new about that. It’s like 300 years old. It was growing mold long before Katrina. Now Chocolate City, on the other hand, sounds sweet. Hell, would you rather be a resident of “Licorice City”?

Maybe later, when the money starts rolling in, we can rename it “Emerald City.” We definitely have a lot of people in city hall without brains, hearts, and courage running around, not to mention all those people behind the curtains running the show.

But I think it won’t be long before people start referring to the world’s most famous sinking city as the “World’s Finest Chocolate City.” And chocolate floats, especially in Barq’s® Root Beer.

Now, I know yÂ’all been worrying that my colored-black-African-American-Chocolate-Bro loss his mind after referencing that heÂ’s been having conversations with God. Of course, God has more serious things to worry about, like who the Saints are going to draft.

And I know some of you thought you heard Count Chocula using GodÂ’s name in vain on a late-night radio show shortly after the storm. But he was actually talking about a God dam, like the one Moses used to separate the sea that time. In fact, Count Chocula said that the Netherlands had some impressive dams, too, but of course, he got sidetracked with the Dutch Chocolate.

But you’ve got it all wrong. When Count Chocula speaks of God, that’s short for Godiva. From what I’m hearing, Godiva is very serious about buying the naming rights to the Superdome. Although, don’t be surprised if Ghirardelli and Hershey’s put some serious money on the table, as well. And trust me, with a little brown paint, that puppy could look a lot like a gigantic Milk Dud®.

Selling sponsorships for Mardi Gras is a great idea, as well. From what I’m hearing, the “official” dance in the second-line parades this year will be the “Tootsie Roll.”

So what if Zulu becomes the new King of Mardi Gras? Rex always looks more like a Queen with a beard, anyway. And when was the last time you saw that SOB throw you a coconut?

And before the parades roll downtown, how ‘bout we pull up the rest of those Miami Vice palm trees that line the neutral ground down Canal Street? I think cocoa trees are blooming this time of the year.

And float riders should be encouraged to throw beads at women showing their Peter Paul® Mounds®.

You have to remember, Count Chocula was a big-time, cable-company executive before getting his current gig. HeÂ’s all into promotion. I know heÂ’s already looking ahead on how to promote the cityÂ’s tourism with that $50 million of marketing and advertising money that the governmentÂ’s giving.

Primetime on BET would be nice. I wonder how much a 30-second spot on Oprah costs? Are they still syndicating Soul Train?

Everyone knows you need some kind of catchy slogan for your city, like “Gateway to the West”…“The Windy City”…“The City of Brotherly Love”…“The Big Apple.” I’m not sure if “The Big Caramel-Covered Apple” has that ring we’re looking for, but maybe something like “A Baskin-Robbins® Kind of Town, But With 30 Fewer Flavors.” Or how ‘bout “a place where you can make fudge, not war”?

Did I hit a nerve? I realize all yÂ’all white-chocolate conservatives are a little upset with Count ChoculaÂ’s blame game towards the President for dragging us into another Vietnam. Count Chocula meant to say that Bin Laden sent dem hurricanes because he was still mad at the U.S. for accusing him of being a drinking buddy of Saddam Hussein.

But donÂ’t lose no sleep. According to my illegal wiretaps, Baby Bush ainÂ’t thinking about pulling the plug on no money. Actually, he ainÂ’t really been thinking about New Orleans at all. Well, actually, he ainÂ’t too good at thinking, period.

But don’t worry. I found us a good lobbyist. And a “Brownie,” at that.

Think for a moment. A couple of days after Count ChoculaÂ’s speech, former FEMA Director Michael Brown does a little crawfishing and accepts the blame. He even went so far as to say he used a debit card once himself for a lap dance at ShoneyÂ’s.

I think we can seize the opportunity, accept Brown’s apology, and get him to whisper into W’s ear about not only printing some more money, but also speeding up the process with dem “cribs on wheels.”

“Another good job there again, Brownie.”

Speaking of unity, all you White Chocolate out there, you need to cut Count Chocula a little slack. Remember, he is a politician. All he was trying to do on MLK Day was trying to have his chocolate cake and eat it, too.

Three and a half years ago, you all thought he was an Oreo®. Ninety percent of y’all voted for him, and he didn’t even offer y’all free cable like he did with the brothers. You twist him open a little bit, he spill his fudge, and everyone’s looking for the next white flight out of town.

I know all yÂ’all Uptowners thought he was snickering at you during that speech. And he can be one hot chocolate some times. But did you thinkÂ…maybe he just didnÂ’t put enough creme in his coffee that day.

DonÂ’t worry. I donÂ’t think he has ANY plans of renaming the Crescent City Connection the Malcolm X-pressway, or the twin span the Farrakhan Freeway.

It was obvious you could hear a little Chocolate Thunder in the air that day, and Darryl Dawkins was nowhere in sight. But down deep, I think Count Knucklehead – oops, I mean, Count Chocula – just wants to bring us all to the land of chocolate milk and honey.

But like Forrest Gump once said, “New Orleans is like a box of chocolates. Every once in a while, you find a nutty one!”