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Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six Paperback – August 17, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, it was a tragedy. What followed was a government-sanctioned travesty. Flaherty, a white New Orleans resident and journalist, interviews a number of locals about the recovery effort, outlining a systemic pattern that includes restrictions of service, human rights violations, and destruction of property targeting the city's African-American majority. The behavior of the notorious New Orleans police department towards this community is appalling, but even more distressing is Flaherty's reporting on the failure of the federal government to respond to the needs of its citizens, and their use of paramilitary mercenaries to enforce a pattern of brutal occupation. To learn how profoundly the system failed (and continues to fail) will be extremely difficult for some readers, and Flaherty pulls no punches in his quest to uncover failures, highlighting how the systems in place for rebuilding (foundation support, non-profit groups, military intervention) remain woefully inadequate. Readers will be compelled, depressed, disturbed, and angered by what they find in this well-written report. Crucial reading. (Sept.) (c)
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About the Author

Flaherty is a writer and community organizer based in New Orleans. His journalism played an important role in bringing the infamous case of the Jena Six to worldwide attention. His post-Katrina writing in ColorLines Magazine shared a journalism award from New America Media for best Katrina-related coverage, and he has produced many segments for Al-Jazeera, TeleSur and Democracy Now.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Haymarket Books (August 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608460657
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608460656
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,124,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Jordan Flaherty has written an absolutely compelling and essential book for anyone interested in contemporary politics of resistance. What I really love about the book is that it offers a wonderful and oft-missing perspective on the sorts of activist projects that are going on *right now* that are doing the hard work of thinking how our world could be otherwise.

I read a lot of books that give important insight into how things got to be this way, why they are the way they are, why what makes some inequalities so dang persistent. This book *does* give important histories in this respect, but it also points us forward. And not speculatively--there's real change happening, and this book shows us where, how, and why.

This book is of particular interest to those who understand the importance of reckoning with the vital questions raised by the history, present, and future of New Orleans. In other words, this is a book for all of us. The writing style is engaging and breezy even as it is serious. I am using this book in my college courses this year (I'm a professor), and I think it would make an excellent addition to any syllabus in American studies, gender and sexuality studies, sociology, political science, or ethnic studies. I'm excited to share with my students some concrete answers to those questions they always ask: what are we supposed to *do*???
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Jordan Flaherty's "Floodlines" is a compelling history of New Orleans: prior to Katrina the nation's sole majority African American city with all the beauty and culture generated from creative resistance to America's vicious history of white supremacy. Each page is a revelation of information you will not hear in the national corporate media coverage of New Orleans before, during after Katrina. For example, Flaherty describes former Governor Blanco's televised plea to the people of Louisiana to "pray" the storm down to a Category 2. And though the storm did loss energy in the Gulf before coming ashore with Category 2 winds (NOT Category 5 as widely reported) the levees failed despite being certified by the US Army Corp of Engineers to hold back a Category 3 storm surge. Other revelations include the gross incompetence of a coroner with no pathology training, police assaults on community organizers, etc. My favorite aspect of the book was the description of Mardi Gras, often portrayed as a drunken privileged white fraternity party. The Native American and African American roots of Mardi Gras and it's cultural significance as a form of resistance to racism is not widely acknowledged. I highly recommend this book, for as Flaherty so eloquently states: "continued silence diminishes us all."
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Floodlines is a bracing, insightful and, ultimately, frustrating read as Jordon Flaherty's paper documentary pulls the curtain back on the systemic issues that turned Hurricane Katrina into much more than a natural disaster. He explores the history of New Orleans and the surrounding region, weaving a variety of compelling individual stories and noteworthy events, before and after Katrina, that illustrate the long-standing socio-political inequities that were fully exposed in the weeks, months, and sadly, years after the flood waters receded.

Where Zeitoun zoomed in on New Orleans with a very personal, Katrina-filtered lens, Floodlines pulls the camera back to show the bigger picture, and it's not always a pretty one. The two books complement each other well and should be read together as they offer the slightest glimmers of hope that something good might eventually come from a disaster whose enormity and repercussions are still difficult to fully grasp.

Recommended!
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Jordan Flaherty's Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six was an eye opening and pleasurable read examining the intersections of race, class, gender, immigration status, etc. and the roles they have played and continue to play in community, culture, organizing and resistance in the New Orleans gulf coast area.

An inspiring "must read" for activists, scholars, organizers, NOLA residents, those impacted by Katrina or other natural disasters, those impacted by systemic and institutional oppression, and those who are curious about the vibrant community of New Orleans.
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Format: Paperback
It's rare to stumble across a nearly-contemporaneous record of events which also effectively grounds them in their historical context. Intelligent, well-written, and both passionate and compassionate, Flaherty's account of community response to astonishing failures of governmental action is packed with inside details -- yet is also so concise, well-written and persuasive it will appeal to people well outside the movement it documents.
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