My New Orleans Story
by Julia Reed
I have a weakness for first person, non-fiction narratives. Travel stories? Love ’em. Autobiographies? Put them on my list. Random short story memories? Gotta have them. The more witty and sarcastic the writer, the better.
Considering these proclivities, I eagerly dove into Julia Reed’s My New Orleans Story. In fact, I visited New Orleans for the first time in October, so I could actually picture some of the streets she was describing.
The drama of the book comes when Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding devastates the city. I was around fifteen when Katrina made landfall in 2005, so my memories of the event are limited (especially because I lived in Maine). I don’t think I truly understood the chaos of the aftermath until I read Reed’s work.
In one chapter, she is describing her first foray back into New Orleans after the storm:
Dozens of cars parked along the way had been relieved of their tires and their gas tanks forced open, some with the siphoning hoses still hanging out; a police cruiser’s smashed passenger window had been taped over with a garbage bag. Ornate iron fences surrounded the charred remains of the once-lovely Lower Garden District houses; here and there a brick chimney or a metal fire stair rose up from the ashes…An elderly lady from the neighborhood, who died, as we would find out later, when she ventured out from her apartment just after the storm, was respectfully covered with a white sheet held down by bricks in a neat oval.
If this wasn’t a library book with a due date, I’d read it again!