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1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina

by

1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina Cover

ISBN13: 9781416552987
ISBN10: 1416552987
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

 

 

Excerpt

Introduction

Writing an introduction for a book like this is tricky business.

Intros I have read over the years are generally composed of personal anecdotes and references to the body of work that follows. But, in this case, what follows is the personal work, the veil pulled away, the soul of a city — and a writer — laid bare.

Newspaper reporters are used to covering death and disaster — it's our bread and butter — but nothing prepares you to do it in your own town. Usually, we parachute into trouble, fill our notebooks, and then hightail it back to the comfort of our homes and offices.

Katrina changed all that.

Our comfort zones disappeared, turned into rubble, wastelands, and ghost towns. I went from being a detached entertainment columnist to a soldier on the front line of a battle to save a city, a culture, a newspaper, my job, my home.

Whether we won or lost the war remains to be seen. New Orleans is still a work in progress. The observations, lamentations, and ruminations that follow are the story so far, as it unfolded to me in the first sixteen months after the flood.

It's probably too emotional for conventional newspaper work. Too sentimental. Too angry. And way too self-absorbed, particularly for someone who weathered the storm remarkably well — in a material sense, at least (I suffered a broken screen door and a loose gutter) — and whose career not only survived the storm, but actually thrived in the aftermath.

I got a book deal, a movie deal, a Pulitzer Prize, dinner with Ted Koppel, and a mention in the social column of The Washington Times. If that ain't Making The Grade, then I don't know what is.

Natural disasters are a good career move for a man in my line of work.

But you didn't have to lose your house, your car, your dog, your job, your marriage, or your grandparents in an attic to suffer the impact of this storm. Unfortunately, most folks around south Louisiana and Mississippi did lose some or all of this.

Others lost less tangible assets: their peace of mind, security, serenity, ability to concentrate, notions of romance, sobriety, sanity, and hope.

The toll it took on me is in the book; I'll not belabor it here other than to say Katrina beat the shit out of me. It beat the shit out of everyone I know. This is our story.

In the winter of 2006, I self-published a collection of my post-Katrina columns from The Times-Picayune, a slim volume of love letters to New Orleans, howls of protest, cries for help, and general musings on the surrealistic absurdities of life in a post-Apocalyptic landscape.

I called it 1 Dead in Attic, a phrase I saw painted on the front of a house in the city's 8th Ward; words that haunted me then, and haunt me still.

Within six months, I ran through five printings of the book, collected great reviews from publications large and small, and sold 65,000 copies. I'm a neophyte in the world of independent publishing, but I'm told that's a real good number for a self-published volume. In fact, it's a good number for any volume.

And that's how the book came to attention of Simon and Schuster. I was preparing a follow-up to Dead in Attic, another collection of stories that I was going to call The Purple Upside-Down Car, a declarative observation my four-year-old son made from our car during a tour of the Lower 9th Ward that I clung to as the perfect metaphor for the whole of New Orleans and not just some wasted, toppled vehicle lying in a field of debris down on — get this — Flood Street.

The irony in this place could kill you.

Simon and Schuster bought the rights to Dead in Attic and the as-yet-unpublished Purple Upside-Down Car and we put them together and that's what you're holding in your hands. Faced with two titles but only one book, we went with the former because it already has brand recognition and because, well... the other one kind of sounds precariously like a Dr. Suess book.

This book takes the reader up to New Year's Day, 2007. A lot has happened since then, to the city, to me. On the eve of publication, I split with my wife of eleven years and went to rehab for an addiction to prescription painkillers, which I turned to in my ongoing struggles with anxiety and depression.

It would be easy to lay this blood on the hands of Katrina, though there is more, much more, to the story.

There always is.

But I guess that's the next chapter, the next story. The next book.

— Chris Rose

New Orleans, June, 2007

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Kati Sipp, January 23, 2012 (view all comments by Kati Sipp)
Flat out brilliant reporting on the devastation, both human and infrastructural, caused by Hurricane Katrina.
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Kati Sipp, January 23, 2012 (view all comments by Kati Sipp)
Flat out brilliant reporting on the devastation, both human and infrastructural, caused by Hurricane Katrina.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
elle, August 28, 2007 (view all comments by elle)
Kay comments that this book should be required reading for everyone who loves New Orleans; actually, I think it should be required reading for everyone in the U.S. In fact, I think it's more important that people who don't love New Orleans should have to read it so they can understand what happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Chris Rose wrote an entertainment column for the local newspaper before the storm. I really didn't care for his column at all. His writing was fluff - self-involved, pompous, and arrogant - mostly about spotting celebrities in the city.

However, after Hurricane Katrina he stepped up to the plate as a writer and journalist like I've never experienced before. His writings tapped into and perfectly captured the exact feelings that every New Orleanian was having. It's an incredibly heartfelt and moving collection of essays.

Trust me, as a New Orleanian, I've read every post-Katrina book out there. This one is hands-down the best. Buy copies for everyone you know. It's that good and it's that important that the rest of the country understand more about our country's worst natural disaster in history.
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(13 of 20 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781416552987
Author:
Rose, Chris
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Natural Disasters
Subject:
United States - 21st Century
Subject:
United States - State & Local - South
Subject:
Hurricanes
Subject:
Hurricane Katrina, 2005
Subject:
Hurricanes -- Louisiana -- New Orleans.
Subject:
World History-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20070831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in 11.9 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » Louisiana
History and Social Science » Americana » New Orleans
History and Social Science » Americana » Southern States
History and Social Science » US History » 1945 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Meteorology

1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.50 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9781416552987 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The physical and psychic dislocation wrought by Hurricane Katrina is painstakingly recollected in this brilliant collection of columns by award-winning New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Rose (who has already hand-sold 60,000 self-published copies). After evacuating his family first to Mississippi and then to his native Maryland, Rose returned almost immediately to chronicle his adopted hometown's journey to 'hell and back.' Rose deftly sketches portraits of the living, from the cat lady who survives the storm only to die from injuries sustained during a post-hurricane mugging, to the California National Guard troops who gratefully chow down on steaks Rose managed to turn up in an unscathed French Quarter freezer. He's equally adept at evoking the spirit of the dead and missing, summed up by the title, quoting the entirety of an epitaph spray-painted on one home. Although the usual suspects (FEMA and Mayor Ray Nagin, among others) receive their fair share of barbs, Rose's rancor toward the powers that be is surprisingly muted. In contrast, he chronicles his own descent into mental illness (and subsequent recovery) with unsparing detail; though his maniacal dedication to witnessing the innumerable tragedies wrought by 'The Thing' took him down a dark, dangerous path ('three friends of mine have, in fact, killed themselves in the past year'), it also produced one of the finest first-person accounts yet in the growing Katrina canon." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "The Crescent City's bard."
"Review" by , "The most engaging of the Katrina books...packed with more heart, honesty, and wit....Rose was more interested in telling the searing stories of his shattered city than assigning the blame for its demise."
"Review" by , "These are impressionistic cries of pain and mordant humor...they so aptly mirrored the sense of surreal dislocation experienced by New Orleanians that they turned Rose into a voice of the tortured city."
"Review" by , "Read together as a book, the litany of torment and tragedy is numbing."
"Review" by , "As primary source material, this is top-drawer stuff."
"Review" by , "Reading 1 Dead in Attic is like walking hand in hand with Rose through his stages of grief: crying, raging, questioning, and eventually smiling as he describes the unbreakable soul of the Big Easy."
"Synopsis" by , 1 Dead in Attic is a collection of stories by Times-Picayune columnist Chris Rose, recounting the first harrowing year and a half of life in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Celebrated as a local treasure and heaped with national praise, Rose provides a rollercoaster ride of observation, commentary, emotion, tragedy, and even humor—in a way that only he could find in a devastated wasteland.

They are stories of the dead and the living, stories of survivors and believers, stories of hope and despair. And stories about refrigerators.

1 Dead in Attic freeze-frames New Orleans, caught between an old era and a new, during its most desperate time, as it struggles out of the floodwaters and wills itself back to life.

"Synopsis" by , Originally a self-published sensation by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, 1 Dead in Attic captures the heart and soul of New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
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