Ray Nagin describes post-Hurricane Katrina paranoia in his new bookBy Michelle Krupa, The Times-Picayune
Jun. 26, 2011
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Among the more shocking revelations is the former mayor’s account of the evening of Aug. 30, 2005. Nagin writes that he and his top aides were in the Hyatt’s fourth-floor command center when about 20 men entered, “dressed in black combat outfits and adorned in bulletproof vests, rifles, and leg straps holding at least two very large handguns each.
“Their presence was shocking, menacing, bizarre, and surreal,” he writes, adding that one barked out: “‘We’re here to protect the mayor. Everybody else get out.’”
The armed men wouldn’t say who sent them or why, though Nagin surmises they may have worked for mega-defense contractor Blackwater. “If they were here to protect me, I sure did not feel that as my gut told me there was another agenda at play, and it clearly did not have our best interests at heart, period,” he writes.
Nagin also worried about becoming a target of sinister forces after his famous Sept. 1, 2005, rant on WWL-AM, which the former mayor writes was prompted by reports that Blanco and U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter had bragged “about how well things were going,” even as evacuees continued to suffer at the Superdome and Convention Center.
“I thought to myself, ‘I’m a dead man! I have just publicly denounced the governor, U.S. Senators, FEMA and the president of the United States,’” he writes. “I started wondering if during the night I would be visited by specially trained CIA agents. Could they secretly shoot me with a miniature, slow-acting poison dart?