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2008’s Most Popular in Print: The Katrina Issue


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Front Porch

by Harry L. Watson
“Bloated corpses bobbing in the streets. Entire communities scoured down to the sand, scarcely one brick atop another. The Superdome and Convention Center, proud symbols of urban greatness, bursting with human misery. Police taking aim at desperate survivors . . .”


Always the Tragic Jezebel: New Orleans, Katrina, and the Layered Discourse of a Doomed Southern City
by Michael P. Bibler
  “How can an almost seventy-year-old film, sensationalizing an event eighty-five years prior, so accurately reflect the details of a present-day disaster? The film wasn’t depicting something analogous to Katrina as much as it was almost predicting Katrina.”

Storm Journal: The Story of the Bay Town Inn
by Ellis Anderson
“The doorway to Number Five suddenly opened directly onto an ocean writhing in fury. The front rooms no longer existed. The floor of the hallway had been sucked into the surf.”

What Was Found
by Maura Fitzgerald
   “You’ll wait in this city where they bury their dead and their Mardi Gras floats above ground. And there you’ll rest next to a bust of a Saints quarterback, the last Viking king, a painted foam Tin Man and his oversized heart. And for an epitaph, a sign on a far wall to state the obvious: . . . the stuff dreams are made of.”

Home at the Mouth of the Mississippi
by Judith A. Howard
    “Little notice has been given to Plaquemines Parish, where few structures escaped damage from Katrina, and where the region south of Port Sulphur looked like a bombed-out war zone. Yet this isolated parish suffered only four deaths and two missing in Katrina, out of a population of 27,000.”

Broken Levees, Broken Lives, and a Broken Nation after Hurricane Katrina
by Karen M. O’Neill
    “Many people viewed the extreme disorder after Hurricane Katrina as the failure of a comprehensive system of public works and emergency preparedness they assumed was designed to ensure safety and security. No such system exists.”

Through a Purple (Green and Gold) Haze: New Orleans Mardi Gras in the American Imagination
by Anthony J. Stanonis
    “The New Orleans Times-Picayune argued it was ‘fortunate that being naked in other cities doesn’t produce the same je ne sais quoi as stripping on a Bourbon Street balcony. Otherwise the tourism revenue we count on from Carnival might remain locked in coffers not our own.'”


Mason-Dixon Lines Is for, to Hold
poetry by Bob Hicok
    “The road had disappeared, the field,
the sundial was about to go under, meaning shadows
would have been unable to stay on schedule.”


Philip C. Kolin and Susan Swartwout, Editors
Hurricane Blues: Poems about Katrina and Rita
reviewed by Rachel Richardson
    “This volume provides a record of the lingering trauma and the need for art–for creation out of the rubble.”