Outspoken and highly controversial former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is set to appear Monday night on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, where he’ll talk about his new Katrina memoir in a setting “unburdened by objectivity, journalistic integrity or even accuracy.”
Nagin’s interview with Stewart follows an appearance on NBC’s The Today Show and Tom Joyner’s morning radio show, all part of his two-day tour in New York City to promote his new book.
The former Crescent City leader, made famous (or infamous) in the wake of Hurricane Katrina when he joined state and federal leaders in playing a months long blame game amid flawed response efforts, is still a master at making incendiary comments, as shown by his Monday morning interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer:
Teeing up the issue for discussion, Lauer quoted from “Katrina’s Secrets: Storms After the Storm,” which is due out Wednesday: “The million-dollar question was why didn’t they take effective action immediately? Was it partisan politics, were there racial considerations? My humble opinion is that it was all of the above.”
Lauer also asked Nagin about whether his famously prickly relationship with then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco contributed to the poor Katrina response. Though both are Democrats, Nagin crossed party lines in 2003 to back Republican Bobby Jindal, and in his book, according to Lauer, Blanco during the campaign told Nagin of his decisions: “There will be hell to pay.”
Lauer asked if that political tension “contributed enough friction to where she was uncooperative in helping you in the city of New Orleans” after Katrina?
“I don’t know about that,” Nagin replied. “But I think there was some residuals. Our relationship was not the best.”
Nagin’s PR tour in the Big Apple is a bit of a 180 over the book-touting efforts he’s making at home. According to The Times-Picayune, an NBC producer says he's read every sentence in Nagin’s memoir, though Nagin’s publicists have refused to provide a copy to The Times-Pic, his hometown newspaper.
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