In the decade since Aug. 29, 2005, when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and wreaked havoc across the Gulf Coast, numerous books have told personal stories of heroism, assessed government policy, and attempted to draw lessons from tragic circumstances.
With the hurricane’s 10th anniversary approaching, expect plenty of public discussion about what we have, and have not, learned in the intervening years. Below is a listing of the latest books on the subject (for earlier titles, see the time line).
Katrina: After the Flood, by Gary Rivlin (S&S, Aug.). Rivlin spent eight months after Katrina reporting on New Orleans for the New York Times. His book examines the storm’s immediate damage; rebuilding efforts; and Katrina’s lasting effects on the city.
The Wind in the Reeds: A Storm, a Play, and the City That Would Not Be Broken, by Wendell Pierce, with Rod Dreher (Riverhead, Sept.). New Orleans–born actor Pierce (The Wire; Treme) writes of working to rebuild his Pontchartrain Park neighborhood after Katrina, and staging a production of Waiting for Godot in the ravaged streets of the Lower Ninth Ward.
We’re Still Here, Ya Bastards: How the People of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City, by Roberta Brandes Gratz (Nation, out now). The author, who since 2007 has split her time between New York City and New Orleans, helped cofound urbanist Jane Jacobs’s Center for the Living City.
The Katrina Decade: Images of an Altered City, photos by David G. Spielman, with essays by Jack Davis and John H. Lawrence (Historic New Orleans Collection, July). Fine-arts photographer and photojournalist Spielman showcases more than 125 black-and-white photos of his home city.
Landfall, by Ellen Urbani (Forest Ave., Aug.). In this novel, the lives of two women and their teenage daughters collide after a fatal car crash in the aftermath of Katrina.
Children’s and YA
Over in the Wetlands: A Hurricane-on-the-Bayou Story, by Caroline Starr Rose, illus. by Rob Dunlavey (Random/Schwartz & Wade, July; ages 4–8). This picture book-in-verse depicts how animal families prepare for a storm and resume normal life after its departure.
Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans, by Phil Bildner, illus. by John Parra (Chronicle, Aug.; ages 5–8). A tribute to the late Cornelius Washington, a real-life sanitation worker known for singing and dancing as he picked up trash in the French Quarter.
Finding Someplace, by Denise Lewis Patrick (Holt, Aug.; ages 8–12). Reesie Boone turns 13 the day Hurricane Katrina hits her home city of New Orleans, and takes refuge with her elderly neighbor, Miss Martine.
What Was Hurricane Katrina?, by Robin Koontz, illus. by John Hinderliter (Grosset & Dunlap, Aug.; ages 8–12). This installment of Grosset & Dunlap’s What Was? history series tracks the storm from start to finish, detailing rescue efforts and survival stories.
Heroes of Hurricane Katrina, by Allan Zullo (Scholastic, July; ages 8–12). This book, part of the 10 True Tales series, tells of people—from a 13-year-old boy to nurses and doctors at Charity Hospital—who risked their lives to help others during the hurricane.
Scholastic Discover More: Hurricane Katrina, by Sean Callery, and Scholastic Discover More Reader Level 2: Hurricane Katrina, by Gail Tuchman (Scholastic, out now; ages 6–8). Two reference books for young readers.
Another Kind of Hurricane, by Tamara Ellis Smith (Random/Schwartz & Wade, July; ages 9–12). The lives of 10-year-old Zavion, who loses his home in Hurricane Katrina, and 10-year-old Henry, who lives in northern Vermont and loses his best friend to a different sort of tragedy, intertwine in unexpected ways.
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans, by Don Brown (HMH, Aug.; ages 12–up). PW’s starred review calls this work of graphic nonfiction, which doesn’t shy from the outrage many felt at the government’s failings, “a crucial contribution.”
Below, more on the subject of Hurricane KatrinaUniversity Presses: Hurricane Katrina 10th AnniversaryKatrina Books: A Time Line: Hurricane Katrina 10th Anniversary