(Yale University Press, $24)
After Katrina roared through the Gulf states, the national media became saturated with stories of the chaos in New Orleans and of the devastation in Mississippi’s coastal towns. Few reported on Louisiana’s St. Bernard Parish, most of which was obliterated by cataclysmic flooding. The residents of this parish (many of whom had weathered the storm on homemade boats) knew they had to save themselves.
While covering the hurricane for The Wall Street Journal, Louisiana native Ken Wells overheard a group of refugees from Chalmette discussing the horror they had left behind and found shrimpers eager to recount their tales. In this book, he gives voice to the forgotten people of St. Bernard Parish, weaving a story of heroism, self-reliance, and hope in the face of catastrophe. ―Lauren Simpson