Jun 21, 2011

Ray Nagin was the mayor of New Orleans when the worst national disaster on record hit. In his new self-published memoir, Katrina's Secrets; Storms After the Storm, Vol. 1, Nagin aims to explain the chaos following the aftermath of Katrina. Of course he places a lot of the blame for the chaos at the feet of the federal and state government, but he also admits to his own mistakes:

"We all had issues, because it was such a catastrophic, historic event," he says. "We all did some good things. We all had shortcomings."

Nagin faults himself for not calling a mandatory evacuation before the storm eight to 10 hours earlier than he did. He says he should have pushed the federal government for someone to be put in charge of the recovery sooner, a job that went to Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré after several days. And he says a 50% jump in the suicide rate shows he should have devoted more resources to mental health services.

Nagin also goes on to say that in some ways he feels New Orleans is better after Katrina:

More educated young entrepreneurs are moving in, and homeownership is up in a city once dominated by rentals.

•The public school system has been rebuilt in an innovative way that could not have happened "if it wasn't for Katrina."

•The city's infrastructure is being rebuilt, including streets, parks, playgrounds, a new medical center downtown and a levee system that Nagin says will withstand a Katrina-like event.

"In a lot of respects, the city has a lot of good things going," he says. "And in some respects better because of Katrina."

The memoir is due out on Wednesday.

Source - USAToday


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