In the Eye of the Storm

Bestselling author and Tulane University professor Douglas Brinkley escaped the wrath of Hurricane Katrina -- and now has the first major book deal about it.

Brinkley's editor, Claire Wachtel, says the book is tentatively titled "The Great Deluge" and will interweave "the story of what happened and how the Gulf Coast came to be at its current state." She added, "It's going to be a history as well as a personal story."

Wachtel -- who has edited three of Brinkley's books at William Morrow, including "Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War" -- said the deal was solidified last week. "When I heard what was happening, I called to make sure he was okay," she said. "It kind of evolved from there."

According to Wachtel, her client is "devastated" by the hurricane and is staying in a hotel in Houston with his wife and two "very young" children. Brinkley could not be reached for comment.

Wachtel would not disclose financial terms but said the book will be released next year and part of its proceeds will go toward the Historical New Orleans Collection, which documents the history of Crescent City.

Madame President

Eighty-five percent of Americans are comfortable with the idea of a female president, according to a Roper poll of 1,004 people conducted last weekend. The poll was commissioned by the White House Project, a nonprofit that works to advance women into leadership positions.

"It's just great news," said Marie Wilson, president of the project. "The trust for women in leadership is changing."

Wilson's organization has partnered with ABC to promote its upcoming series "Commander in Chief," which will feature Geena Davis as president. "So much of our perception of the ability of women to lead is shaped by what we see on films or television," said Wilson.

The White House Project will host a premiere screening of the show in Washington on Sept. 22 and nationwide house parties where people can watch.

Wilson said she's excited to see what will happen next: "Maybe we can actually use this show to get that tippy point over and have a woman elected to office."

Chappelle: Back to School

Comedian Dave Chappelle, who abruptly left his popular TV series earlier this year, said he's happier performing in front of a smaller audience. A much smaller audience.

Chappelle sold out 10 shows at a northern Kentucky club, then last week played another Kentucky club, the Funny Bone in Newport -- a 325-seat venue. In its second season, "Chappelle's Show" on Comedy Central averaged 3.1 million viewers. And this is his decision.

According to the funny man, doing standup is "like I'm hanging out with a bunch of people. . . . I like that particular kind of attention."

Chappelle's sudden departure from his TV show ignited rumors that he had mental health issues or drug problems, but the comedian says he was just unhappy with the direction of his show.

While Chappelle said he doesn't know what the future will hold for him, his immediate schedule suggests more intimate audiences: University of Oregon on Sept. 22, California State at Fresno on Sept. 24 and Eastern Michigan University on Sept. 30. You can almost hear the Comedy Central execs crying from here.

-- Compiled by Korin Miller

from staff and wire reports

Comedian Dave Chappelle, who made the big time, is back to playing the college circuit.Geena Davis portrays Mackenzie Allen, the first female prez of these United States.