Aug. 28 marks the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the impetus for first-time New Orleans author and certified financial planner Brad Fortier.
Fortier said he began journaling about Katrina’s devastating effect on his life in 2007 as a therapeutic exercise. Later, his thoughts were written in the form of letters to his young daughter, Kate.
Hutchinson’s job was to take the mounds of letters and distill them into succinct chapters that would connect with the reader.
In the opening page, Fortier writes: “Dear Kate, In 2005, three years before you were born, I was married, lost my job, and became homeless — in that order — within a four-month period. My homelessness resulted from Hurricane Katrina, a powerful storm that battered the Gulf Coast of the United States.”
Fortier is admittedly not a writer but described his endeavor as “a creative calling I had to get out.”
“Losing everything was the best thing that ever happened to me,” he said.
“I can talk about debt because I was buried in it and clawed my way out. I can talk about insurance because I saw what happened to people who didn’t have it. I can speak of death because I’ve been surrounded by it,” he writes.
Fortier led many recovery efforts for New Orleans in the months following Katrina. He and his wife eventually recovered and opened a financial-planning practice, Fortier Financial.
Hutchinson said she was asked 18 months ago to work with Fortier to finish, edit and prepare the book for publication. She’s lived in east Cobb about 20 years.
“It’s amazing how long it takes a book to go from start from finish,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson, who has a degree in dentistry from Harvard, has edited a popular series of young reader books for award-winning author Ellen F. Feld, as well as education textbooks. Her next project is an investment book for financial advisers.
Fortier says his advice to his clients is now much less materialistic and more qualitative than his pre-Katrina days at Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley.
“It’s a tough message to sell, but at least I feel like I’m practicing with a purpose,” Fortier said.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. Harry Markowitz, adjunct professor of finance at the University of California, is quoted on the book’s sleeve saying: “Between its covers, you will find wisdom about life in general and financial planning in particular.”