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Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six Paperback – August 17, 2010
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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*???
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.
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.