Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The world according to Ray Nagin

Photo credit: Brett Duke, Times-Picayune
Letters to the Times-Picayune Editor
Re: Former NOLA mayor's memoir, "Katrina's Secrets"

I admire the restraint reporter Michelle Krupa showed in her excellent report on former Mayor Nagin's bizarre account of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in his self-published memoir. 

Instead of gloating over Nagin's public self-destruction, the report attempts to present the facts -- both as Nagin sees them and as others do. This said, I'd loved to have been a fly on the wall during the writing process.

Clearly, the former mayor is delusional, paranoid and an out-and-out racist. While I'm not a supporter, I find it sad to watch Nagin hoist by his own petard. His intent is to paint himself as a persecuted superhero fighting a storm of racism and deliberate malfeasance. Unfortunately, his words have the opposite effect. What's truly remarkable about Nagin's account is that it causes feelings of sympathy for former Gov. Kathleen Blanco and former President Bush.
Nagin's book makes clear the former president and governor not only had to deal with the nation's worst man-made disaster, they had to do so while facing an uncommunicative mayor whose grip on reality is suspect at best.
Nagin is now calling himself a disaster consultant. It's a shame he can't seem to recognize that this book is a disaster. Even those few people who took him seriously before now will no longer be able to delude themselves. Watching the spectacle of Nagin destroying his own reputation with his own words should cause his enemies to rejoice, if only they weren't shaking their heads in pity at Nagin's pathetic attempt to rewrite history.
Peter Busowski
I think Ray Nagin has taken too big of a bite of his "Chocolate City" post-Katrina experiences and is suffering from a cerebral glucose overload. Gov. Blanco's former chief of staff, Andy Kopplin, said it best about the book: "It's no wonder Nagin self-published his secret conspiracy theories, as any publisher would have required rigorous fact checking before printing these delusional and offensive charges."
Too bad Ray didn't ask me for a suggested title for his book. I would have suggested, "One Flew Over the Chocolate Cuckoo Nest."
Both of my parents are living and in their 90s. They depend on family, especially for transportation. If a disaster threatens, is Jefferson Parish, Gov. Jindal or President Obama responsible to come to their home and safely transport them to a shelter where they would be boarded, fed and cared for? Or perhaps, are Nagin's reader's that delusional as well?
Frank Compagno
Regarding Ray Nagin's declarations in his Katrina book: In the words of that great American humorist Mark Twain, it is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.
Don E. Carter, M.D.

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