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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ray Nagin to publish Katrina's Secrets, the first volume of his memoirs

Posted By on Tue, May 3, 2011 at 3:03 PM

The cover of Ray Nagins upcoming memoir.
  • The cover of Ray Nagin's upcoming memoir.
Former mayor Ray Nagin announced today via Twitter (his new favorite form of communication) that he would be publishing his memoirs next month in a book titled Katrina's Secrets: Storms After the Storm. On the cover: a contemplative Nagin looking out a window, somewhat reminiscent of the famous photo of President George W. Bush looking down at a flooded New Orleans from Air Force One.

The book — which seems to be self-published — carries an alternate title, Katrina's Secrets: I, on the former mayor's website, indicating a Part II (and III? and IV?) may be forthcoming. Lending further credence to the sequel is this pre-publication blurb from his former CAO, Dr. Brenda Hatfield: "The reader can’t help crying and laughing out loud because the narrative is so human, riveting and authentic. Only Mayor Nagin can bring us these hidden historical perspectives of Katrina. Still there are so many more secrets be told in the next volume."

Nagin's website describes the book thusly:

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 I: 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.

It's not the first post-Katrina book from a member of the Nagin Administration. That distinction went to former sanitation director Veronica White, whose paperback How to Maximize FEMA Funding After a Natural Disaster was published in 2009. It's currently out of print; used copies go for $48 apiece on

News of the publication caught a couple of local booksellers by surprise. At Uptown's Maple Street Book Shop, manager and book buyer Gladin Scott said he wasn't aware of the book, but "there's no way we wouldn't carry it. But he hasn't called the store." Amy Loewy of the Garden District Book Shop burst into laughter at the news of the memoir and said she hadn't heard of it either, nor had Nagin or his assistants called the shop — "unless the mayor called (owner) Britton (Trice) at home."

Readers and libraries can preorder their copies of Nagin's book from his website. The publication date is June 8.

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