Customer Reviews for

Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death, and Life in New Orleans

Average Rating 4.5
( 46 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Surprising

I cant really tell you why I picked this up but it really does deliver. I live in Houston and can really connect with the events in it. It almost was emotionally hard to read in places because of that close connection with Katrina.

The nine lives this book tells dr...
I cant really tell you why I picked this up but it really does deliver. I live in Houston and can really connect with the events in it. It almost was emotionally hard to read in places because of that close connection with Katrina.

The nine lives this book tells draws you in and just refuses to let go. I have always found it interesting to actually think about growing old. To think about what your parents know and to think about what they have seen. This book gives a look at that. Showing you a person grow old, showing their struggles and triumphs.

It also provided a different look at Katrina, one you may not have seen before, one that I found eye opening.

I will admit I did loose track of the characters stories and who was who with all the changing and darting around from person to person but I always found myself looking forward to hearing about what was next in their lives.

The book also really shows you why people find the city so great and why people will really never leave.

Awesome.

posted by Coggy on February 21, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

A great book that describes the many diverse citizens inhabiting and living in New Orleans.

I was born and raised in New Orleans and am related to one of the characters in this book and also used to frequently shop at the card shop owned by one of the characters in this book. This book gives you an idea of the great people inhabiting this city and how this cit...
I was born and raised in New Orleans and am related to one of the characters in this book and also used to frequently shop at the card shop owned by one of the characters in this book. This book gives you an idea of the great people inhabiting this city and how this city is full of life and has a hold on all of the people that live in it. It is not an easy city to describe nor are the people. I loved reading all of the stories in this book because it gave you an insight on some of the areas that people usually do not and did not come across on a daily basis. It is a great book, though it does not go into as great a detail as I would have liked but it gives you an approach to a city and the diversity of citizens. This city you could describe it in a few words but as the book illustrates, the real city and the citizens you may know are more than the cover of a book, you have to read more into it and them. This book is an uplifting book, it is not just about the effects of Katrina, it is about a city full of culture, neighbors you thought you had known and to the future of our city and it's inhabitants and their strength to move on and rebuild this great city and keep it's architecture, music, and neighborhoods alive. People wonder why try to rebuild here, this book may answer some of these thoughts by giving you an insight on the special people and places in New Orleans. This city is unlike any in the United States, the old is next to the new, the poor live right next door to the rich. This book gives you an expample of the life here but you will want to know more and more after reading this book because you get involved in these people's lives and you are pulling for all of them and their dedication to their families, their city and their fellow citizens of New Orleans.

posted by Sharona_GentillyTerrace on April 20, 2009

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  • Posted February 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Surprising

    I cant really tell you why I picked this up but it really does deliver. I live in Houston and can really connect with the events in it. It almost was emotionally hard to read in places because of that close connection with Katrina.

    The nine lives this book tells draws you in and just refuses to let go. I have always found it interesting to actually think about growing old. To think about what your parents know and to think about what they have seen. This book gives a look at that. Showing you a person grow old, showing their struggles and triumphs.

    It also provided a different look at Katrina, one you may not have seen before, one that I found eye opening.

    I will admit I did loose track of the characters stories and who was who with all the changing and darting around from person to person but I always found myself looking forward to hearing about what was next in their lives.

    The book also really shows you why people find the city so great and why people will really never leave.

    Awesome.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 9, 2011

    Best book I've read in a long time

    History. Sociology. Memoir. Biography. New Orleans' people, architecture, geography, contemporary history and problems - New Orleans' culture - pulsates on every page. More importantly, this is a book that shows us the value of community, the meaning of home, and how the insights and desires of individual citizens can do more to move a metropolis forward than all the fingerpointing, posturing and intentions of professional politics.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 20, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    They know what it means to miss New Orleans

    New Orleans. There's no other city like it in the United States. It's southern, it's French, it's Spanish, it's African-American. It's the filé in the gumbo, the lait in the café, the feathers of the Mardi Gras Indians and the improvisation of a jazz ensemble.

    And we nearly lost it. We nearly lost it all.

    A lot of books have been written about Hurricane Katrina. I've read a bunch of them. This is one of the best, mostly because it's not merely about Katrina. After I came back from the Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2006, I wrote in my Live Journal: I picked up a book while I was there, Chris Rose's 1 Dead in Attic, a collection of his articles in the Times-Picayune. And in the eponymous article he writes about some homes in the Eighth Ward, where many of the Mardi Gras Indians live, and where they have "retrieved their tattered and muddy Indian suits and sequins and feathers and they have nailed them to the fronts of their houses." New Orleans has nailed its colors to its houses; it's not going without a fight.

    This is Baum's effort to understand and explain, through the lives of nine New Orleanians, just what it is that makes people so devoted to this city, as poor and violent and corrupt as it was, just why they struggled (and still struggle) so hard to return and rebuild. He interviewed these folks (as well as friends, relatives and co-workers) for days, you feel that he knows them as well as he knows himself.

    His interviewees are as varied as you'd expect: a high school band leader, a transsexual bar owner, the coroner of Orleans Parish, a single mom from the 'hood determined to have a better life, a millionaire king of carnival, the wife (later widow) of Big Chief Tootie Montana. Their lives are so different, and yet they intersect. Each in his or her own way has tried in their lives to make their city a better place. It hasn't always been easy. Wilbert Rawlins, Jr.'s devotion to his band kids, knowing that for many he's the only father, for some the only parent, that they know, nearly loses him the woman he loves. Billy Grace, Rex, King of Carnival, risks losing status to open up the krewes (those social organizations that drive Mardi Gras). Ronald Lewis fights for equal rights on the job, and starts a second-line club to "bring a little pride back" to the Lower Ninth. Setbacks don't stop them, so why should Katrina?

    Rather than tell one person's story and then the next, Baum has told the stories in bits and pieces, chronologically, beginning in 1965, with Hurricane Betsy (described by Lewis as "a force of nature more powerful than his mom") and ending two years after Katrina. This structure gives the book such great force and drive that I finished it at about 1:00 in the morning, unwilling (unable, really) to stop reading. There's an incredible tension in reading the dates under each section, as we move closer and closer to that weekend in 2005.

    When jazz great Irvin Mayfield was interviewed by NPR shortly after Katrina, he said "jazz is about taking what you have and making the best of it, and doing it with style". That's what these folks did with their lives, and are still doing to make New Orleans come alive again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A great book that describes the many diverse citizens inhabiting and living in New Orleans.

    I was born and raised in New Orleans and am related to one of the characters in this book and also used to frequently shop at the card shop owned by one of the characters in this book. This book gives you an idea of the great people inhabiting this city and how this city is full of life and has a hold on all of the people that live in it. It is not an easy city to describe nor are the people. I loved reading all of the stories in this book because it gave you an insight on some of the areas that people usually do not and did not come across on a daily basis. It is a great book, though it does not go into as great a detail as I would have liked but it gives you an approach to a city and the diversity of citizens. This city you could describe it in a few words but as the book illustrates, the real city and the citizens you may know are more than the cover of a book, you have to read more into it and them. This book is an uplifting book, it is not just about the effects of Katrina, it is about a city full of culture, neighbors you thought you had known and to the future of our city and it's inhabitants and their strength to move on and rebuild this great city and keep it's architecture, music, and neighborhoods alive. People wonder why try to rebuild here, this book may answer some of these thoughts by giving you an insight on the special people and places in New Orleans. This city is unlike any in the United States, the old is next to the new, the poor live right next door to the rich. This book gives you an expample of the life here but you will want to know more and more after reading this book because you get involved in these people's lives and you are pulling for all of them and their dedication to their families, their city and their fellow citizens of New Orleans.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 23, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Nine Lives is the story of New Orleans, its people, and its hear

    Nine Lives is the story of New Orleans, its people, and its heart.




    Dan Baum weaves the stories of nine different New Orleans citizens before and after Katrina throughout his tale of a city that is alive with energy and dripping with culture. This is a book about far more than the devastation of the storm. It captures New Orleans and its residents like no other book has been able to do. You will hear the trumpets blowing, taste the spice in the jambalaya, and smell the chicory in the coffee while reading.




    It is beautifully written with characters as vivid and colorful as New Orleans itself.




    I loved this book and if you've ever spent any time in the Crescent City you will too!




    Victoria Allman
    Author of: SEAsoned: A Chef's Journey with Her Captain

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2013

    Sunfire

    Caught a large rabbit and went back to camp.*sunfire*

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2012

    Love it

    Im gona read this book it sounds like its really good thanks for helping me find a good book .i bet im gona really like this booj because alot of people recoment it.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2011

    Made my heart ache for home

    I could not put this book down. It was spot on and made me love New Oleans even more. Which I did not think was possible. I am giving this book as a gift to all my N.O. transplant friends.

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  • Posted June 19, 2011

    .

    .

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 4, 2011

    Highly recommended.

    A real story book-a book full of stories about compelling characters. Currently being made into a musical (CD available now). Also serves as a tour guide to NOLA.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2009

    A descriptive book which confirms the unique culture of New Orleans.

    New Orleans is a unique city with a mix of people from varied backgrounds. This book confirms the many differances of the people and the unifying spirit of the people who reside in the city.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2009

    Great book

    A very well written read. It held my interest. Several people have asked me about the book. Their comment is "I need to get the book ." The facts are very very good. Research for this product is very accurate. The Big Easy is my favorite city. The author has done a great job.Hope to read more of his works.An awesome accurate book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2009

    Terrific Book

    A must read - so well written and suspenseful. Love Dan Baum!

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  • Posted June 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Nine Lives

    I loved the mingling of the various people's lives, as well as the background. His smooth writing and vivid imagery brought it all to life for me:)

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  • Posted May 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Tells a story of New Orleans through nine different people through the past 40 years

    Nine very likeable and different people tell their stories from the 60's through Katrina. New Orleans is such a unique gem of a city and you get a bit of its history in this book. It doesn't try to be a history text book that covers everything, just these 9 people and their personal experiences and points of view. Very well edited- the statements are short and flow together very well. I have only known this city since Katrina and it was enlightening to get some background and a sense of what life was like for some very ordinary people.

    The book doesn't gloss over the flaws of either the people, the city's movers and shakers or the federal government. You will find yourself rooting for these 9 people and for the city.

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  • Posted April 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A highly recommended book

    I LOVE this book. Baum uses the stories of nine everyday New Orleans citizens to explain what's so fascinating about the city. He follows these people from the mid-1960s (right after Hurricane Betsy plowed thru New Orleans) to 2007 and Hurricane Katrina's aftermath. Each person comes from a different strata of New Orleans culture. The parish coroner, a high school band director, the drifter who came in from California are just some who get the chance to tell their story of New Orleans.

    I find it interesting that by bookending the story between major hurricanes, Baum has put his finger on a problem with our society in general. After Betsy, folks started cleaning up immediately, they didn't wait for someone to come do it for them. After Katrina, even those who wanted to help were hampered by those who expected someone else to do things for them.

    A highly recommended book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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