Thursday, March 19, 2009

85 (2009 #10). 1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina

by Chris Rose

This was the selection of the local book club this month. We're not sure who suggested it, but suspect it was because Rose was a Pulitzer finalist for his columns after Katrina in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. This book is a collection of the columns from 2005 post-storm and 2006. The subtitle is important to make it clear that the book is not an account of riding out a hurricane in progress.

The columns were good, and I appreciated Rose's fair treatment (i.e., it wasn't all a "poor me/us" book and is even funny at times). Rose even writes about his diagnosis of depression near the end of 2006. However, the columns were not organized chronologically, which made them difficult to follow at times. The lack of flow made the book less compelling; I had a hard time getting it read. Furthermore, there were a number of references in the book that probably make sense to those who live/lived in New Orleans or are familiar with it, but make little sense to an outsider like me.

I grew up in Houston and my first "real" job was in Corpus Christi, during and after Hurricane Allen, so I have experience with hurricanes and their aftermaths (Red Cross shelters, cleanup, FEMA, etc.). I could probably relate better to a similar book about Ike and its effects on Galveston, simply because I am familiar with that city (as I could easily relate to Isaac's Storm).

The first edition of this book only covers 2005 and was self-published by Rose in February, 2006. It includes photographs by British photojournalist Charlie Varley which add a lot to the book; I wish they could have been used in the later edition.

This is not a book I would re-read, but it would probably be appreciated by New Orleans residents and fans, past and present.

1 comment:

  1. I read the 1st edition soon after it came out in 2006 and enjoyed it. I would like to read the longer edition eventually.