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Ten years in the making, Gary Rivlin’s Katrina is “a gem of a book—well-reported, deftly written, tightly focused….a starting point for anyone interested in how The City That Care Forgot develops in its second decade of recovery” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana. A decade later, journalist Gary Rivlin traces the storm’s immediate damage, the city of New Orleans’s efforts to rebuild itself, and the storm’s lasting effects not just on the area’s geography and infrastructure—but on the psychic, racial, and social fabric of one of this nation’s great cities.
Much of New Orleans still sat under water the first time Gary Rivlin glimpsed the city after Hurricane Katrina as a staff reporter for The New York Times. Four out of every five houses had been flooded. The deluge had drowned almost every power substation and rendered unusable most of the city’s water and sewer system. Six weeks after the storm, the city laid off half its workforce—precisely when so many people were turning to its government for help. Meanwhile, cynics both in and out of the Beltway were questioning the use of taxpayer dollars to rebuild a city that sat mostly below sea level. How could the city possibly come back?
“Deeply engrossing, well-written, and packed with revealing stories….Rivlin’s exquisitely detailed narrative captures the anger, fatigue, and ambiguity of life during the recovery, the centrality of race at every step along the way, and the generosity of many from elsewhere in the country” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). Katrina tells the stories of New Orleanians of all stripes as they confront the aftermath of one of the great tragedies of our age. This is “one of the must-reads of the season” (The New Orleans Advocate).