1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina
  • 1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina
  • 1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina

1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina

4.7 21
by Chris Rose
     
 

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1 Dead in Attic is a collection of stories by Times-Picayune columnist Chris Rose, recounting the first harrowing year and a half of life in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Celebrated as a local treasure and heaped with national praise, Rose provides a rollercoaster ride of observation, commentary, emotion, tragedy, and even humor-in a way that only he could find…  See more details below

Overview

1 Dead in Attic is a collection of stories by Times-Picayune columnist Chris Rose, recounting the first harrowing year and a half of life in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Celebrated as a local treasure and heaped with national praise, Rose provides a rollercoaster ride of observation, commentary, emotion, tragedy, and even humor-in a way that only he could find in a devastated wasteland. They are stories of the dead and the living, stories of survivors and believers, stories of hope and despair. And stories about refrigerators.

1 Dead in Attic freeze-frames New Orleans, caught between an old era and a new, during its most desperate time, as it struggles out of the floodwaters and wills itself back to life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The physical and psychic dislocation wrought by Hurricane Katrina is painstakingly recollected in this brilliant collection of columns by award-winning New Orleans Times Picayunecolumnist Rose (who has already hand-sold 60,000 self-published copies). After evacuating his family first to Mississippi and then to his native Maryland, Rose returned almost immediately to chronicle his adopted hometown's journey to "hell and back." Rose deftly sketches portraits of the living, from the cat lady who survives the storm only to die from injuries sustained during a post-hurricane mugging, to the California National Guard troops who gratefully chow down on steaks Rose managed to turn up in an unscathed French Quarter freezer. He's equally adept at evoking the spirit of the dead and missing, summed up by the title, quoting the entirety of an epitaph spray painted on one home. Although the usual suspects (FEMA and Mayor Ray Nagin, among others) receive their fair share of barbs, Rose's rancor toward the powers that be is surprisingly muted. In contrast, he chronicles his own descent into mental illness (and subsequent recovery) with unsparing detail; though his maniacal dedication to witnessing the innumerable tragedies wrought by "The Thing" took him down a dark, dangerous path ("three friends of mine have, in fact, killed themselves in the past year"), it also produced one of the finest first-person accounts yet in the growing Katrina canon. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
From the Publisher
"The Crescent City's bard"
— Harry Shearer, The Huffington Post

"These are impressionistic cries of pain and mordant humor...they so aptly mirrored the sense of surreal dislocation experienced by New Orleanians that they turned Rose into a voice of the tortured city."
— Ken Ringle, The Washington Post Book World

"The most engaging of the Katrina books...packed with more heart, honesty, and wit...Rose was more interested in telling the searing stories of his shattered city than assigning the blame for its demise..."
— Michael Grunwald, The New Republic

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416552987
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
08/21/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
143,183
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

1 Dead in Attic


  • I got out.

    I’m mystified by the notion that so many people didn’t even try; but that’s another story for another time.

    We left Saturday, my wife, kids, and me. We went first to Picayune, Mississippi, thinking that a Category 3 storm would flood New Orleans and knock out power, but that we’d be dry and relatively comfortable in the piney woods while the city dried out.

    Sunday morning, of course, Katrina was a massive red blob on our TV screens—now a Cat 5—so we packed up and left again.

    We left my in-laws behind in Picayune. They wouldn’t come with us. Self-sufficient country folk; sometimes you can’t tell ’em nothing.

    We don’t know what happened to them. My wife’s dad and her brother and their families: No word. Only hope.

    Like so many people around the country wondering what happened to those still unaccounted for, we just don’t know. That’s the hardest part.

    If you take the images you’ve seen on TV and picked up off the radio and Internet, and you try to apply what you know to the people and places you don’t know about, well, the mind starts racing, assumptions are made, and, well . . . it consumes you.

    The kids ask you questions. You don’t have answers. Sometimes they look at me, and though they don’t say it, I can see they’re wondering: Daddy, where are you?

    My six-year-old daughter, she’s onto this thing. What is she thinking?

    We spent Sunday night in a no-tell motel in a forgotten part of downtown Vicksburg; a neighborhood teetering between a familiar antiquated charm and hopeless decay. Truth is, it called to mind my beloved New Orleans.

    Most of the folks in the hotel seemed to live there permanently, and it had a hard-luck feel to it. It was the kind of place where your legs start itching in the bed and you think the worst and you don’t want your kids to touch the carpet or the tub and we huddled together and I read them to sleep.

    Monday morning, my wife’s aunt told us they had a generator in Baton Rouge. As Katrina marched north and east, we bailed on our sullen little hotel and drove down along the western ridge of the storm, mostly alone on the road.

    Gas was no problem. We had catfish and pulled pork in a barbecue joint in Natchez, and the folks there—everyone we have met along our three-day journey—said the same thing: Good luck, folks. We love your city. Take care of it for us.

    Oh, my city. We have spent hours and hours listening to the radio. Image upon image piling up in your head.

    What about school? What about everyone’s jobs? Did all our friends get out? Are there still trees on the streetcar line? What will our economy be like with no visitors? How many are dead? Do I have a roof? Have the looters found me yet? When can we go home?

    As I said, it consumes you as you sit helplessly miles from home, unable to help anyone, unable to do anything.

    If I could, what I’d do first is hurt the looters. I’d hurt them bad.

    But you have to forget all that. You have to focus on what is at hand, what you can reach, and when you have three little kids lost at sea, they are what’s at hand and what you can reach.

    I took them to a playground in Baton Rouge Tuesday afternoon. They’d been bottled up for days.

    Finally unleashed, they ran, they climbed, they fell down, they fought, they cried, they made me laugh, they drove me crazy; they did the things that make them kids.

    It grounds you. You take a breath. You count to ten. Maybe—under the circumstances—you go to twenty or thirty this time.

    And tonight, we’ll just read them to sleep again.

    We have several books with us because—and this is rich—we brought on our evacuation all the clothes and things we planned to bring on a long-weekend trip that we were going to take over Labor Day weekend.

    To the beach. To Fort Morgan, right at the mouth of Mobile Bay.

    Man.

    Instead of that, I put on my suntan lotion and went out in the yard of the house where we’re staying in Baton Rouge and I raked a massive pile of leaves and limbs from the yard and swept the driveway.

    Doing yard work and hitting the jungle gym on the Day After. Pretending life goes on. Just trying to stay busy. Just trying not to think. Just trying not to fail, really.

    Gotta keep moving.

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  • What People are saying about this

    From the Publisher
    "The Crescent City's bard"

    — Harry Shearer, The Huffington Post

    "These are impressionistic cries of pain and mordant humor...they so aptly mirrored the sense of surreal dislocation experienced by New Orleanians that they turned Rose into a voice of the tortured city."

    — Ken Ringle, The Washington Post Book World

    "The most engaging of the Katrina books...packed with more heart, honesty, and wit...Rose was more interested in telling the searing stories of his shattered city than assigning the blame for its demise..."

    — Michael Grunwald, The New Republic

    Meet the Author

    Chris Rose has been a columnist for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, an essayist for The PBS News Hour, and a frequent commentator for National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. In 2006, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary in recognition of his Katrina columns and was awarded a share in the Times-Picayune staff’s Pulitzer for Public Service. Rose lives in New Orleans with his three children.

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    1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
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    BkslrLauren More than 1 year ago
    This is one of the most touching, heart breaking and inspiring books I've read in a long time. I suggest it for anyone with the slightest amount of curiosity about what happened during Hurricane Katrina. Please read.
    PhilliesPhan22 More than 1 year ago
    Chris lets you into the world of New Orleans after Katrina. His humor, compassion and love of his city make you realize that we must support and rebuild this wonderful city. Each chapter tells a different story and at the end of the book you are wanting more.

    God bless Chris for sharing his life after Katrina.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    This book is a very accurate thought process of what we were all thinking in the aftermath of Katrina. We didn't really know whether to laugh or cry at some situations. Didn't do any good to cry, so we just plugged along. Chris Rose gave a very humanistic view of our frail state at that time. At times I cried while reading his descriptions and sometimes I laughed out loud or grinned and those around me understood why when I read it outloud to them. I sincerely enjoyed this book!
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    This collection of columns by Times-Picayune columnist Chris Rose chronicles with heartbreaking detail the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the city of New Orleans and on Rose himself. As with all anthologies, the entries are uneven in both tone and quality. Some will elict a chuckle, some a shrug and too many will leave you with tears welling up in your eyes. But on balance this book eloquently captures the lingering delicate balance that exists in post-Katrina New Orleans between hope and despair. The introduction written by Rose is important as it briefly touches on the toll the storm and the job of covering this story took on him and his family. I imagine that his personal troubles are like many thousands of others. It is a potent and compelling book that I would strongly recommend to everyone especially people travelling to New Orleans.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    This book is an accurate description of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. If anyone wants an idea of what New Orleans and the surrounding area was like this is it. Chris Rose has done an excellent job at describing the tragedy we endured and are still enduring yet he does it with class. He just tells things as he seen/witnessed/experienced it. This description is accurate without being grotesque, although he could have been. Anyone from New Orleans should read this, this is about our city, our history, our lives. I cry and laugh at this truly amazing book.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    Only a person who lives in New Olreans and loves New Orleans could write a book like this. If you really wanna know what it was (and is) like there after 'it', read this book!
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    I read this book in 2 days. It is the best post-Katrina book I've seen so far. It's a chronicle of the days and months after the storm that only a local could really put into words. It was both sad and laugh out loud funny at times. It's a must read for anyone who wants to get a glimpse of how the people from New Orleans really feel about their devestated hometown and why we stay.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    Can't praise this book enough, it chronicles real life in New Orleans from the day after the storm. This book was assigned to incoming freshman at Tulane University this fall, and it certainly surprised many with it's personal eye-witness account of a great city under extreme conditions. Very well written, insightful, powerful while at the same time striking the perfect chord between pathos and giddy insanity that is New Orleans - - - full of the charm and characters the flood couldn't scour away - - - like he said, you can't make this stuff up. Most helpful is the author's clear discription of where and why the system failed America's greatest city and why the rest of us should care. Also explores the issue of coping with depression when everyone else you see is suffering from the same. This is a treasure of a book and I plan on giving it to all my friends for Christmas. It's just incredible.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    If you love New Orleans, this is the book to read!On my first visit back to NOLA after Katrina, I was told by a local that this was the definitive voice of how New Orleanians have felt after Katrina, so I made it a point to read this book as soon as I returned. I am so glad I did. Everyone who loves New Orleans - and even those who do not - should read this book instead of listening to those who think THEY know New Orleans (politicians, FEMA, etc...). Thank you, Chris Rose. REBUILD NEW ORLEANS!
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    You won't learn how little storms off the coast of Africa become overblown hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, or the effect the Bermuda Low has on the late summer weather of south Louisiana. But you will experience life in New Orleans post-K despite inept governments at all levels and the recently (about 2 yrs.) completed federal levee 'protection' system in the city.