After Hurricane Katrina, then-New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was initially hailed for his famous "get off your a***s" public cry to the federal government two days after the storm to put relief efforts in gear.
That goodwill proved short-lived, however, as he turned into a combative personality, seeming to spend as much time defending himself against slights perceived and real as he did actually guiding the Crescent City through its recovery.
Nagin, fairly or not, ended up getting a lot of blame for the city's poor immediate storm response and stalled recovery process, and it appears he intends on setting the record straight with a new tell-all book.
"C. Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, recounts evacuation decisions, an overwhelmed city, a president's vacillations, and successful recovery efforts. Now, Nagin's long-awaited account, Katrina's Secrets: Storms after the Storm, lays out the days leading up to and following the storm. At once stirringly, elegiac and disarmingly candid, this spellbinding reckoning delivers exacting detail, while boldly exposing secrets that, until now, have been glossed over or spun out."
Even in the book's announcement, it seems Nagin is ready to shunt some of the blame onto former President George W. Bush, who himself has already taken a lot of heat for the government's post-storm efforts.
Recently, Bush defended his Katrina response, saying: "Don't tell me the federal response was slow when there were 30,000 people pulled from roofs when the storm passed."
Nagin, who famously took a long shower aboard Air Force One when it finally touched down in New Orleans after the storm, and Bush were not alone among politicians whose reputations were ruined by the event. Former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco didn't bother to run for reelection after Katrina because her poll numbers were so low. There has been no word of any tell-all memoirs from the reclusive former Democratic governor.
The timing of Nagin's book appears to have no significance, as the 5-year anniversary of storm passed last year and he has not announced any intentions to seek further political office. That said, the fact that the book exists at all appears to be a bit of a flip-flop by the mayor, who said in Spike Lee's 2010 sequel to his 2006 Katrina documentary: "I'm not into writing a big tell-all thing. I don't think that serves any real purpose."
Nagin's book is apparently making an impact of some sort already. On his Twitter feed, Nagin wrote: "Just got call. Reporters syke-ing people. Said I wrote negative about them. None of them have read a single page. LMAO!"