1. To tell my personal story of what it was like to come home after one of the worst natural disasters in United States history.
2. To document a Katrina story that was about the Mississippi Gulf Coast and detail what happened here.
It has been six years since Hurricane Katrina came across Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, then went north right around the Mississippi state line and continued halfway across the continent. Since then, I feel like Mississippi has been all but forgotten by those not from the South. If it weren't for TV celebrities like ABC's Robin Roberts, a Coast native, I wonder how much follow-up attention we would have gotten at all. For example:
- In August 2010, marking the five-year anniversary of Katrina, the New York Times wrote an article called On Anniversary of Katrina, Signs of Healing. The word 'Mississippi' does not appear one time in the story. It's entirely about New Orleans.
- Also in August 2010, CNN ran a Katrina anniversary story in which Mississippi gets a brief mention as it focused on the city of Waveland, but that doesn't come until the middle of the article and then everything before and after it was about New Orleans. CNN did at least get its information correct about Mississippi being hit first and worst.
- In June 2009, ABC News ran a story which pointed out how President Obama's officials have made more than 20 visits to Louisiana, but only five to Mississippi. A year later, on the five-year anniversary of the storm, he only visited New Orleans.
I didn't write this book to politicize what happened after Katrina, but I do think it is important that this story be told someone who lived in the area before and after the hurricane. I am a ninth generation Mississippian and direct descendent of the state's first congressman, Dr. William Lattimore. In fact, I'm named after him. The rest of the world needs to know what it was like in Mississippi after the storm, because I don't feel like they will get the full story so long as New Orleans keeps getting all the attention.
Fulks does not play the “I suffered more than you” game. Indeed, his memoir is remarkably upbeat for someone whose home was destroyed and who lost most everything he owned.
- Kip Hooker
Fulks has managed a nearly impossible task. He has taken an event seared into the memories of those there - and those just in front of the television sets - and produced a piece of art that is immediately epic in scope and yet personal to any reader of this that has either a heart, a soul or both. He also did it in a form that makes you actively question how this could possibly be his first novel.