A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, Josh Neufeld

A.D. is a graphic novel about seven people from New Orleans.  The author interviewed these people extensively, visited New Orleans, took pictures, and then created this book.  It tells the stories of people who left and people who stayed, wealthyish people and poorish people, black people and white people.

I liked reading this book, because it aligns very nicely with my memories of the hurricane.  The high school kids talked about how they were going to miss a couple of days of school, and everyone expected it to turn east the way they always do, and the doctor has a hurricane party.  I was in university then, and we all thought we were going to miss a few days of school and have some high winds, which is what had happened several times in past years.

And, of course, my most vivid memory from Katrina, the damn newspeople.  We were listening to the radio & watching the TV if we had power, trying to figure out what was going on.  My cousin had refused to leave New Orleans (and yes!  I am still cross about that!), and my other cousin was like, He’s an idiot but if he’s staying then I’m staying, so voila, two of my very excellent cousins were in New Orleans, and we were worried and wanted news about what was happening.  And all the news was like this:

Newsreader: We’re going to go out to Carol [or whoever] in a second, and give you the news on this hurricane.
My whole family: YES.  NOW we will learn if there are casualties, what’s going on in the hospitals, what the water levels are like, whether we should expect flooding–
Carol or whoever: IT IS VERY WINDY IN THIS HURRICANE.
Family: …
Carol: YES.  VERY WINDY AND WET.
Newsreader: Now, that sound we hear, that’s actually the wind, right?
Carol: Yes!  The wind is extremely windy!  I am being blown all around!  Woooooooooo!
Newsreader: Now, should we be expecting flooding?
Carol: IT IS WINDY!

And if it was on TV, instead of the radio, they would show some footage of trees blowing in the wind, and debris blowing down the street.  And then the newsreader would say, It is very windy and wet!  Everyone be careful!, and they’d remind us how Ray Nagin told everyone to leave, and that would be the end of the segment.

So it was neat to read a book that matched my memories so well, but taken altogether, the book didn’t have much to say.  The writer didn’t draw connections between the experiences of the characters, or put them in any sort of context.  There were good stories, sure, but it’s a book, and I wanted more than a collection of anecdotes.  A.D. didn’t say anything new or unexpected, and so I imagine it might be boring for someone who didn’t live through the hurricanes.  I won’t need to read it again.

But you don’t have to take my word for it: Page247 and nothing of importance also reviewed it; and if you did too, let me know and I will link to you!

  • I know this isn’t funny in the least, and I can’t even begin to imagine how frustrating it must have been to be away from family or friends and not have access to any substantial news…but your parody was seriously brilliant.

    • Thanks! It is funny in retrospect – one of the few funny-in-retrospect things about that hurricane. But damn, it was just maddening at the time. For Rita (the Next Big Hurricane) I don’t think we even bothered turning on the radio.

  • And how did your cousins fare?

    • They are a-okay, I am happy to report. Funnily enough, their father my uncle, who lives in a different part of the state, had a tree on his house. Life is so weird.

  • and how come I have to hit HOME on your blog to get to the next (prior) post? sorry a bit of a rant here…

    • Ack, I don’t know! I keep meaning to fix my blog and make it prettier, but my computer is so slow. It takes ages just to write a blog post, and I always get tired at the thought of fighting with Mozilla & WordPress & my computer long enough to make changes. But one of these days I will…