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Archive for Sunday, May 21, 2006

New Orleans in tempest over ‘Deluge’

May 21, 2006

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— He gets asked at campaign stops, in candidate forums and televised debates.

What about the book, Mayor?

"Bogus" he replies, or "total distortions." And sometimes he gets mad.

Rarely has a work of history figured so prominently in a mayoral election here or anywhere else. "The Great Deluge," by Tulane University historian Douglas Brinkley, covers a week of the Hurricane Katrina debacle and depicts New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin as too vain, too stunned and too paranoid to have been effective in the city's crisis.

Relying in part on accounts from Nagin's political rivals, the book has been characterized by his supporters as a campaign attack timed to sink his bid for re-election on Saturday. "The Great Deluge" began appearing in bookstores this month.

Brinkley, the author of several best-selling history books, says the book was meant to coincide not with the election but with the June 1 onset of hurricane season.

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