Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Orleans A.D.

I'll be leaving New Orleans today after a wonderful experience at ALA Annual.  Here are a few thoughts on the Crescent City and its inhabitants:

  • The ease and politeness of the Big Easy is notable.  With very few exceptions, the local population was friendly and accommodating - even to three librarians on an expense account. ("Can we have three separate checks?" "Sure, no problem." "Can we check out an hour late?" "I can do that.")

  • New Orleans is a religious city.  Plentiful are the numbers of transportation companies bearing the name of the Almighty.  The Lord's Son may even be found endorsing iPhone repair. If there is debauchery on Bourbon Street, it is a tourist production; New Orleans serves only to provide the venue.

  • If there is one thing that New Orleanians would like you to know, it is that New Orleans was not a victim of Hurricane Katrina.  Yes, the hurricane passed close by and caused damage from wind and rain.  However, the devastation of New Orleans was caused by human failure - the failure of the levees, the failure of the local infrastructure.  They want us to know that, to remember that, and to ensure that it never happens again.

  • There are many books written about the New Orleans experience during and after Hurricane Katrina.  If you're looking for a distilled, visceral interpretation that is accessible to teens, look no further than Josh Neufeld's graphic novel, New Orleans After the Deluge (Knopf 2010).

I'll be finishing the book on the plane.  I think I know how it turns out.

So long, New Orleans, it's been great!


  1. So fun to meet you at Bookpage's Newberry table! (At least I think I am remembering your "shelf-employed" and name correctly!)
    And thanks from a Mississippian whose state WAS the victim of Hurricane Katrina, for acknowledging the truth about New Orleans' damage...the main media rarely remembers Mississippi.
    PKlibrarian / Cynthia

  2. Yes, it was fun to meet you, too! (and our little friend, Mickey, that ran by the table!) And yes, a New Orleans resident was emphatic in pointing out that Mississippi bore the brunt of Hurricane Katrina’s wrath. Interestingly, the author of A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge was first a post-hurricane volunteer in Mississippi before he began to chronicle the events in New Orleans ... tragedies both. Keep in touch!


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