by C. Ray Nagin 340 pages Published by CreateSpace Self Publishing Review by Dionne Charlet
I read Ray Nagin's June 22 release not wanting to pre-judge the book by the man's coverage. If nothing else, I believed getting a glimpse into the events transpiring before, during and post-Katrina to be worthy of review. That being said, the book works as a narrow autobiographical recollection, or memoir, of how post-Katrina demands affected the New Orleans City Mayor in 2005.
The book details literal events and reflective considerations that compelled a leading official to act and react, both out loud and in his own thought processes.
I had immediate questions. How does a city leader cope with so much death, overwhelming emergent mass public need, nonstop dire situations, coworker suicides, fatigue, rationing, outages, overworking first responders, and media swarms?
These situations are addressed throughout the book.
Does Nagin come across as sincere? I believe he may have had to get some help to recreate the mind scene of the time, but the timeline does fit the media footage still fresh in my memory from the time.
Has he been scapegoated, treated unfairly or victimized?
Such truths can lie in the eyes of any beholder through headlines and media blurbs.
What stresses combined beneath the storms of Mother Nature and the media to wreak havoc on the less-than-perfect image of city, state and federal politicians?
Here, I found I was left with more questions than answers, and I am not the only one to say this.
Nagin's heroes, as written, were the first responders and the "John Wayne Dude", Russel Honoré. The speaker doesn't site himself as a tragic hero hidden away in a Faraday cage. He writes…himself. Read, then make your judgements.