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New Atlantis: Musicians Battle for the Survival of New Orleans Hardcover – June 6, 2011
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"New Atlantis is a fast-moving hybrid of richly detailed journalism
and compelling partisan memoir." -David Fricke, Rolling Stone
"A solid, rewarding book." -Kirkus Reviews
"An all-inclusive and engrossing study of New Orleans music and life in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Highly recommended." -Library Journal
"This intimate portrait of a city that lost so much yet still has so much to offer captures the resiliency of its inhabitants and their stubborn determination to never give up." -Booklist
"Intimate, intelligent and passionate...Swenson's concern for the future of the music culture is as personal as it is journalistic - probably more so - and reading him, you can't help but care, too." -The Times-Picayune
"The eloquent central narrative beautifully evokes New Orleans, alongside interviews with those who, like the Neville Brothers and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, lived through the deluge, scraped out the sludge and faced down the National Guard." -Financial Times
"An excellent and well-written book...A great companion read if you're a fan of the HBO series, Treme." -The Nation
"Swenson nimbly deals with an increase in violence and turf wars, one of the consequences of the town losing most of its inhabitants, while also telling heartrending stories of the irreplaceable memorabilia that was destroyed...anyone who loves New Orleans will find New Atlantis an engaging read." -The Austin Chronicle
"John Swenson's moving book records the story of a city that acted on singer Randy Newman's famous plea, 'Don't let them wash us away.'" - The Independent
"Excellent...a tribute to the thousands of indefatigable volunteers who pitched in after the flood to gut and salvage ruined homes." -- The Times Literary Supplement
About the Author
John Swenson has been a syndicated columnist for more than 20 years at UPI and Reuters. His account of musicians returning to New Orleans after Katrina, "The Bands Played On," appeared in Da Capo's Best Music Writing 2007; his "Every Accordionist a King" won the 2008 Best Entertainment Feature award from the Press Club of New Orleans. Swenson has been an editor for Crawdaddy, Rolling Stone, Circus, Rock World, Offbeat, and other publications. He is the author of The Rolling Stone Jazz and Blues Album Guide (Random House, 1999); Stevie Wonder (Plexus, 1989); and Bill Haley: The Daddy of Rock and Roll (Stein and Day, 1985).
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
This book, New Atlantis, by John Swenson tells the story of the music and its role in saving New Orleans from the aftermath of the storm. It is told as only one thoroughly familiar with the cultures and under-cultures of New Orleans can tell it.Read more ›
There's very little difference between Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Albany, Atlanta, San Diego, Dallas, Phoenix, and Tacoma, except size and climate. I realized that New Orleans was like nowhere else, and the differences in attitudes and culture were unique and wonderful, beyond the fried chicken and the crawfish étouffée. By the time of Katrina, I blessed my good fortune for having brought me to live there. I don't know whether I can ever explain it. It was a small, compact, enchanted place, divided into at least 20 neighborhoods that I knew of: Treme, Lakeview, Lake Vista, Lower Ninth, Upper Ninth, Bywater, Bucktown, Back o' Town, the Fauburg Marigny, St. John Bayou, Uptown, Garden District, Downtown, CBD, the Quarter, the West Bank (actually south of the city), Arabi, Algiers, Midcity, Gentilly, Bucket of Blood, Congo Square, St. Claude, Esplanade, City Park, Jefferson, Carrollton, down by Law, Lakefront, Batcher, River Road, and so on (is that 20?).
The levee failures during Katrina erased the city down to the original French town. We lost our house. People in our neighborhood died. Beyond these losses, a culture had been almost wiped out.Read more ›
It isn't an easy recovery. For some who came back, there were others who never would, or would pass away not long after returning. And the early returnees came to a city occupied by the National Guard and terrible street violence with musicians and tourists not being safe from gang related violence. But there are James and Troy (Trombone Shorty) Andrews returning to New Orleans 17 days after Katrina to play at Jackson Square at ceremonies associated with the President's speech and having to deal with what they saw.
Musicians slowly came back and started playing but as Swenson observes they did more than simply make music. Craig Klein of Bonerama started the Arabi Wrecking Crew to help gut ruined houses and then partnered with a group building a musicians community. And then there is music such as that by harmonica player Andy Forest with a recording "Real Story," while Coco Robichaux started playing at Molly's when the lights went back on there, and a group including Walter 'Wolfman' Washington played a concert at the Maple Leaf that the National Guard closed down at 8:00PM after curfew, and James Andrews playing a concert at the Ogden Museum, resuming its concert series that Katrina had interrupted.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this for my husband who is a big Nola fan. He is really enjoying this book and is going to share it with his friend who is an even bigger Nola fan. Read morePublished on March 26, 2013 by P. Hobbs
I generally don't read many non-fiction books, so someone who does, or is very knowledgeable about the New Orleans music scene will likely have a different experience reading this... Read morePublished on September 20, 2012 by Kindle-aholic
John Swenson immerses the reader in the music of New Orleans. He examines how musicians are working to rebuild New Orleans. Read morePublished on August 23, 2012 by Amazon Customer
Our family has a first-person relationship with New Orleans and we had a first-person experience with Hurricane Katrina. I've worked within the music world for many years. Read morePublished on November 25, 2011 by Marilyn Rea
Book is good if you know the New Orleans music scene and the history. Otherwise it will be a difficult read. Read morePublished on August 27, 2011 by Marcella Seidensticker
New Orleans, almost wiped off the map, brought back to life by its musicians. An important, untold story finally told and told well. Read morePublished on August 18, 2011 by Ken McCarthy
I honestly feel that three stars is a somewhat low rating for this book, while four stars would be too much. Rather, it probably sits in the 3.5 star range. Read morePublished on July 27, 2011 by T.L. Walker
This book is true about New Orleans. I have relatives there who suffered through Katrina.
New Orleans was in bad shape and our federal government did not give a dam. Read more