Friday, August 28, 2009

"You can have New Orleans back, but you’ve got to want it bad."

Four years ago tomorrow, the first report of a levee breach in New Orleans, Louisiana was made (see a timeline of Katrina here). New Orleanians that had weathered the brutal Category 5 Hurricane Katrina were to realize shortly that the worst of the storm would begin only after it had ended. The flooding was terrible and, undoubtedly, still remembered by even those of us who have never called New Orleans home. Today New Orleans is slowly rebuilding, but it hasn’t been and still will not be easy. Some sections of the city are coming up just fine, while others, particularly the poorer areas, are still abandoned and have been left untouched since Katrina.

There are a ton of books out there about New Orleans, and, if you’ve ever been there, you would understand why. New Orleans has a culture all its own and its food, music, and people are well-known in the Western world. Katrina’s impact on New Orleans has been the central theme of most books that have been published about the city in the past few years. For example, there’s Why New Orleans Matters by Tom Piazza (2005), a New Orleanian who describes the city so intimately that there’s no doubting his love and passion for it. Or, Nine Lives by Dan Baum (2009), who arrived in New Orleans after the storm as a reporter and became so intrigued by the city he wrote the stories of nine of its inhabitants and their hurricane experiences. A similar story portrayed in graphic novel format, is A.D.: New Orleans after the Deluge by Josh Neufeld (2009), who captures the Katrina experiences of seven people in bold, color-infused panels, that was originally serialized in Smith magazine. Celebrate this fine city, its past as well as its future, with a great book or documentary from the Austin Public Library. Do a subject search in FindIt, our online catalog, by choosing Subject in the dropdown menu and search for “Katrina, 2005”, to see all of the materials we have about the storm, or “New Orleans and biography”, to see all of the materials we have about New Orleans and its culture.


A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge
Read all about this comic and see it in its web format here.

City of Refuge
A novel by Tom Piazza about two families weathering Katrina.

Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found from the Times-Picayune of New Orleans
An excellent idea for an excellent book - listen to the story behind it here on NPR.

The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans

Sugarcane Academy: How a New Orleans Teacher and His Storm-Struck Students Created a School to Remember

Why New Orleans Matters

This one was just recently published, was written by the acclaimed Dave Eggers, and has received nothing but raves, such as this one here.

Documentaries (DVDs)

The Old Man and the Storm
A PBS Frontline documentary

The Axe in the Attic

Trouble the Water

When the Levees Broke
Acclaimed 3-disc documentary by the legendary Spike Lee

Articles and News

Barriers to Mental Health Services for Children Persist in Greater New Orleans, Although Federal Grants Are Helping to Address Them *requires an APL card
An interesting report compiled by the U.S. Government Accountability Office on New Orleanian children and their mental health

Hope, Reality Collide in Post-Katrina New Orleans

The State of New Orleans
Op-ed from the New York Times

Then and Now: New Orleans After Katrina
Carl Lastie is the man behind the quote that titles this blog post. More about his and others' rebuilding triumphs can be read about and seen in this article.


Anonymous said...

There's also Plenty Enough Suck to Go Around, by Cheryl Wagner.

Ragged Robin said...

Thanks. I hadn't heard of that one - I see it got a good review from the Times-Picayune: