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The Good Pirates of the Forgotten Bayous: Fighting to Save a Way of Life in the Wake of Hurricane Katrinaby Ken Wells
Synopses & Reviews
With a long and colorful family history of defying storms, the seafaring Robin cousins of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, make a fateful decision to ride out Hurricane Katrina on their hand-built fishing boats in a sheltered Civil Warand#150;era harbor called Violet Canal.and#160; But when Violet is overrun by killer surges, the Robins must summon all their courage, seamanship, and cunning to save themselves and the scores of others suddenly cast into their care.
In this gripping saga, Louisiana native Ken Wells provides a close-up look at the harrowing experiences in the backwaters of New Orleans during and after Katrina. Focusing on the plight of the intrepid Robin family, whose members trace their local roots to before the American Revolution, Wells recounts the landfall of the storm and the tumultuous seventy-two hours afterward, when the Robinsand#8217; beloved bayou country lay catastrophically flooded and all but forgotten by outside authorities as theand#160;world focused its attention on New Orleans. Wells follows his characters for more than two years as they strive, amid mind-boggling wreckage and governmental fecklessness, to rebuild their shattered lives. This is a story about the deep longing for home and a proud bayou peopleand#8217;s love of the fertile but imperiled low country that has nourished them.
"Author and journalist Wells, a native of Louisiana bayou country, was a Wall Street Journal reporter when Katrina struck in 2005. Arguably more horrific than the scene in New Orleans were the bayou parishes, particularly St. Bernard and Plaquemines, where the eye of Katrina came on land. After hitching a National Guard helicopter to St. Bernard Parish, Wells meets Ricky Robin, whose ancestors had been hunting, fishing, and pirating the bayous for over 250 years. Robin became Wells's guide, relating harrowing stories of the storm, as even the parish president and his staff were trapped, their emergency vehicles flooded or washed away entirely; the first outside help to reach them was not FEMA, but a squad of Canadian Mounted Police. Wells also examines the disaster's 'unnatural causes,' like the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, a shipping canal dredged from Lake Pontchartrain to the Gulf of Mexico, which provided an inland channel for the Category 5 storm surge driven by Katrina. Afterwards, the failed levee system prevented filthy, polluted water from draining back to the ocean, turning much of the bayou into a cesspool. Vivid prose, first-hand testimony and solid, heartbreaking reportage make this disaster debrief hard to put down, and worth the attention of every U.S. citizen." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The true story of a resilient circle of shrimp boat captains who faced and withstood the wreckage of Katrina but now find their courage tested by a greater threat: the disappearance of their livelihood and their centuries-old bayou culture.
About the Author
Ken Wells is a senior editor and writer for Condand#233; Nast Portfolio magazine, as well as the author of Crawfish Mountain and the Catahoula Bayou trilogy. During his career as a journalist he has been a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a writer and features editor for the front page of the Wall Street Journal. He lives in the suburbs of New York City.
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