Best articles/books on Hurricane Katrina, esp as it impacted New Orleans
December 12, 2016 11:47 AM   Subscribe

Looking for articles on Katrina. the damage to the city; the response in terms of rebuilding, re-zoning and re-planning.
posted by ebesan to Society & Culture (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Dave Eggers' book Zeitoun is a great first-person account of life in NOLA during and immediately after Katrina. Fantastic read.
posted by Cranialtorque at 11:50 AM on December 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

Five Days at Memorial, about multiple failures of systems and leadership at a hospital in New Orleans that led to patient deaths and criminal charges against some of the participants. It's written by a reporter but it reads like a novel.
posted by selfmedicating at 11:56 AM on December 12, 2016 [4 favorites]

This longform piece from ESPN about New Orleans 10 years after Katrina is pretty great: Beyond the Breach.
posted by rtha at 12:00 PM on December 12, 2016

We're Still Here, Ya Bastards- Roberta Gratz. A book, not an article.

The Great Deluge-Douglas Brinkley. Not the best writing, imo, but pretty comprehensive assessment of what went so wrong and the immediate response.
posted by the offing at 12:31 PM on December 12, 2016

While it's not about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina the book "An Unnatural Metropolis" give an excellent overview of why the city was built where it was and the struggles to keep it safe from flooding.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 1:00 PM on December 12, 2016

I haven't read the book itself, but while writing a paper about Katrina I came across a review of The Great Deluge, which piqued my interest in reading it.
posted by Eyeveex at 1:15 PM on December 12, 2016

You might be interested in browsing the Katrina-related holdings of The Historic New Orleans Collection. Disclosure: I work here. Enter via the online catalog and use the collection themes menu at left to expand Science and Technology - Disasters - Hurricanes - Katrina. Clicking that Katrina link will send you to a results list divided into bibliographic, manuscript, and visuals. I guess it depends on how deep you need to go for whatever you're working on, but we have a lot. Feel free to memail me for further info.
posted by CheeseLouise at 1:30 PM on December 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

How about a graphic novel?

A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge
posted by Leontine at 10:10 PM on December 12, 2016

I'm just going to mention it in the off chance you don't already know it: Treme (HBO) is superb.
posted by persona au gratin at 2:04 AM on December 13, 2016 had a nice list of interesting articles about Hurricane Katrina--Beyond the Breach is on the list. I also saw a couple of good long form articles in National Geographic, USA Today, and, of all places, Weather Underground. This New York Times long form piece about New Orleans ten years later is particularly detailed and powerful.

The story I remember hearing about Hurricane Katrina that stuck with me hard was the story of the town of Gretna, Louisiana turning away evacuees. If that's a rabbit hole you want to go down, here's another article about it. I played Google hopscotch on that one for a long time awhile back, haha.

Finally, I'm not sure if there was a specific reason you're focusing on New Orleans, but if your geographic focus is flexible, I'd check into some of the Mississippi Gulf Coast damage and recovery efforts as well. Because the Mississippi Gulf Coast got SLAMMED head on by Hurricane Katrina, and if the levees hadn't broken and flooded New Orleans, the total and complete destruction of the Mississippi Gulf Coast might have been the major story to come out of that storm instead.

I lived right outside of Biloxi, MS for a couple of years before the hurricane hit, and it was especially frightening for me to see all of the devastation on the news focusing on the tragedy and flooding in New Orleans, then cutting over to Mississippi juuuuust long enough to show how terrible it was over there where all of my friends I couldn't call on the phone to make sure they were okay lived, and then switch right back over to New Orleans without saying much else about the situation in Biloxi. I understand why the focus was on New Orleans, for sure, but my personal stake in the Gulf Coast had me wanting to see more from the other places that got hit hard by the storm, ya know?
posted by helloimjennsco at 6:57 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nine Lives by Dan Baum is worth a read and reread- it focuses and 9 people before and after. I found The Great Deluge good as a starting point and timeline of the few days of the storm. Hungry Town by Tom Fitzmorris discusses the restaurant industry in the city before, during, and after the storm in a loving way- he strikes a very different tone than most people writing about the storm, and acknowledges how different his experience was than many in the city and along the coast. One Dead in Attic is a collection of columns written after the storm that detail how a columnist's neighborhood and city experiences shifted.
posted by slanket wizard at 7:46 PM on December 16, 2016

Prisoners of Katrina is brilliant, depressing and eye-opening.

It's about all the prisoners left in limbo when the flooding destroyed the police records office and the evacuation killed funding for the public defenders' office. The result was people who'd arrested briefly for eg. public drunkenness finding themselves incarcerated for weeks or months in a Kafkaesque system that regarded them as criminal but had lost the details of what it was accusing them of.

It's as much an indictment of the US criminal justice system and its treatment of African-Americans as anything but still a great Katrina account. Zeitoun, mentioned above, covers similar ground in the Abu Ghraib-ish atmosphere of post-Katrina New Orleans.

Separately anything by the novelist and memoirist Jesmyn Ward is golden.
posted by 8k at 1:06 AM on January 5, 2017

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