Katrina: After The Flood

  • Katrina
  • Praise
  • Reviews
  • Excerpts
  • Media Appearances
  • Articles I Wrote
  • Extras
  • “Editor’s Choice,” New York Times Book Review, top pick, Aug. 16, 2015

    One of New York Times’s 100 Notable Books of the Year, 2015

    One of NPR Best Books of 2015

    Ten years after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana—on August 29, 2005—journalist Gary Rivlin traces the storm’s immediate damage, the city of New Orleans’s efforts to rebuild itself, and the storm’s lasting affects not just on the city’s geography and infrastructure—but on the psychic, racial, and social fabric of one of this nation’s great cities.

    Much of New Orleans still sat under water the first time Gary Rivlin glimpsed the city after Hurricane Katrina. Then a staff reporter for The New York Times, he was heading into the city to survey the damage. The Interstate was eerily empty. Soldiers in uniform and armed with assault rifles stopped him. Water reached the eaves of houses for as far as the eye could see.

    Four out of every five houses—eighty percent of the city’s housing stock—had been flooded. Around that same proportion of schools and businesses were wrecked. The weight of all that water on the streets cracked gas and water and sewer pipes all around town and the deluge had drowned almost every power substation and rendered unusable most of the city’s water and sewer system.

    People living in flooded areas of the city could not be expected to pay their property taxes for the foreseeable future. Nor would all those boarded-up businesses—21,000 of the city’s 22,000 businesses were still shuttered six months after the storm—be contributing their share of sales taxes and other fees to the city’s coffers. Six weeks after the storm, the city laid off half its workforce—precisely when so many people were turning to its government for help. Meanwhile, cynics both in and out of the Beltway were questioning the use of taxpayer dollars to rebuild a city that sat mostly below sea level. How could the city possibly come back?

    This book traces the stories of New Orleanians of all stripes—politicians and business owners, teachers and bus drivers, poor and wealthy, black and white—as they confront the aftermath of one of the great tragedies of our age and reconstruct, change, and in some cases abandon a city that’s the soul of this nation.

  • “Rivlin is a sharp observer and a dogged reporter. He is unerringly compassionate toward his subjects…But Rivlin’s most valuable journalistic skill is his acute sensitivity to absurdity…a valuable book.”

    “Former NY Times reporter Rivlin delivers a magnificently reported account of life in a broken, waterlogged city…exquisitely detailed narrative…deeply engrossing, well-written, and packed with revealing stories.”

    “A lean, taut narrative…[a] vital, comprehensive account of Hurricane Katrina’s long-term impact on the city of New Orleans comes across less as a 10-year-anniversary marker of an indelible calamity and more as an up-to-the-minute microcosm of our larger society.”

    “A skillful storyteller, Rivlin delivers a fascinating report on a city transformed by tragedy.”

  • USA Today, 8/23/15: A four-star review by Gene Seymour

    “A lean, taut narrative…[a] vital, comprehensive account of Hurricane Katrina’s long-term impact on the city of New Orleans comes across less as a 10-year-anniversary marker of an indelible calamity and more as an up-to-the-minute microcosm of our larger society.”

    The New York Times Book Review, 8/16/15, by Nathaniel Rich

    “Rivlin is a sharp observer and a dogged reporter. He is unerringly compassionate toward his subjects…But Rivlin’s most valuable journalistic skill is his acute sensitivity to absurdity…a valuable book.”

    Kirkus, 7/1/15, a starred review

    “Former NY Times reporter Rivlin delivers a magnificently reported account of life in a broken, waterlogged city…exquisitely detailed narrative…deeply engrossing, well-written, and packed with revealing stories.”

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 8/8/15, by Tim Bross

    “A gem of a book—well-reported, deftly written, tightly focused. It’s a book that will appeal to the urban planner and the Mardi Gras reveler.”

    New York Daily News

    “Katrina: After the Flood is as harrowing as it is riveting in recounting the tale of a city too broken to fight off its predatory would-be saviors…a balanced and comprehensive chronicle.”

    San Francisco Bay View (“national black newspaper”), by Orissa Arend, 7/29/15

    “A carefully researched, beautifully written book.”

    Nature magazine, August 2015, by Barbara Kiser

    “Journalist Gary Rivlin sweeps from street to boardroom in this history of the aftermath… As Rivlin sharply reminds us, overcoming disasters is very much an issue of governance.”

    (subscription required)

    Florida Courier, 8/6/15, by Glenn C. Altschuler

    “Sweeping and searching, Katrina is a Category Five expose of disastrous disaster relief.”

    The (New Orleans) Gambit, 8/10/15, by Kevin Allman

    “Pieces together a tapestry of portraits and tales that should place this as one of the definitive books on the subject.”

    John Lingan, Virginia Quarterly Review

    “A deeply-reported, character-driven procedural, not unlike the classics of its kind, such as And the Band Played On or The Warmth of Other Suns.”

    BookPage, August 2015

    “A skillful storyteller, Rivlin delivers a fascinating report on a city transformed by tragedy.”

    Jason Hutter, New Orleans Living

    “In the last decade, few tales equal that of Hurricane Katrina in proportion or the amount of media devoted to it, yet non-fiction writer Gary Rivlin has woven a narrative so fresh in perspective and focus, his new book reminds us of how many personal accounts of this monumental event still beg to be told.”

    Lee Polevoi, Highbrow Magazine

    “A lucid and sympathetic account of a vital American metropolis crushed by natural forces and beset by issues of race and class in its ongoing attempts to recover.”

  • Escape from New Orleans: As Waters Rose, the White-Run Suburbs Across the Mississippi Closed a Key Bridge to Fleeing Residents

    A short excerpt that ran on Yahoo News

  • CBS Sunday Morning: August 30, 2015

    “New Orleans After Katrina: A Tale of Two Cities”

    CSPAN: August 29, 2015

    Talking about KATRINA at Maple Street Books in New Orleans

    Democracy Now: August 28, 2015

    An unequal recover in New Orleans: Racial Disparities Grow in a City Ten Years After Katrina.

    WBOK-New Orleans: August 28, 2015

    “Good Morning Show” with Oliver Thomas

    TheRealNews.com

    Who ‘Recovered’ in Post-Katrina New Orleans?

    Hardball by Chris Mathews: August 27, 2015

    Live interview

    Weekends with Alex Witt: August 29, 2015

    Live interview on MSNBC

    Stand Up with Pete Dominick: August 21, 2015

    Live interview SiriusXM Radio

    Bloomberg Advantage: August 21, 2015

    Live interview on Bloomberg Radio

    Tom Sullivan: August 28, 2015

    Fox Radio

    Travels with Rick Steve: August 29, 2015

    Syndicated Radio

    Sierra Club Radio: August 29, 2015

    syndicated

    "Majority Report with Sam Seder”: August 26, 2015

    The Reading Life: August 11, 2015

    WWNO-New Orleans, Susan Larson

    Paul Sullivan Show: August 13, 2015

    Live interview, KTRS-St. Louis

    ABC Radio Network “satellite tour”: August 28, 2015

    Interviews with 9 ABC affiliates nationwide

    Central Time: August 26, 2015

    Live interview, Wisconsin Public Radio

    Jim Engster Show: August 25, 2015

    Live interview, Louisiana Radio Network

    Building Bridges: August 31, 2015

    Live on WBAI-radio

  • Gary Rivlin’s ‘Katrina: After the Flood’

    I talk with New York Times Magazine book editor, Pamela Paul

    The Lasting Effects of Hurricane Katrina

    An article I wrote for Rolling Stone about the kids of Katrina. Roughly 160,000 kids were displaced by Katrina. The average child moved 7.2 times after the storm. Five years after Katrina, the average Katrina Kid was suffering four time the number of “serious emotional disturbances.”

    The Corner Store After Katrina

    My first foray into graphic nonfiction. I worked with the artist Jackie Roche on this article about Burnell Cotlon, a son of the Lower Ninth who spent more than 5 years — and nearly 100,000 — trying to bring a store to his community.

    Why New Orleans’s Black Residents Are Still Under Water

    A spin-off from KATRINA that appeared in The New York Times,  In which I lay out the black narrative of Katrina and the white one.

    New Orleans After Katrina: A Tale of Two Cities

    Katrina featured in the segment titled.

    This American Life

    Ira Glass gives me a shout-out in this report on the state of the Lower Ninth Ward.

  • The Chicago Reader

    A feature about Katrina in my old paper.