Nine lives mystery magic death and life in new orl unique & compelling


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Nine lives mystery magic death and life in new orl unique & compelling

  1. 1. Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death, and Life in New Orleans by Dan Baum Everyone Should Read This BookBook Description The hidden history of a haunted and beloved city toldthrough the intersecting lives of nine remarkable characters. AfterHurricane Katrina, Dan Baum moved to New Orleans to write about thecity’s response to the disaster for The New Yorker. He quickly realized thatKatrina was not the most interesting thing about New Orleans, not by along shot. The most interesting question, which struck him as he watchedresidents struggling to return, was this: Why are New Orleanians —alongwith people from all over the world who continue to flock there —sodevoted to a place that was, even before the storm, the most corr upt,impoverished, and violent corner of America? Here’s the answer. NineLives is a multivoiced biography of this dazzling, surreal, and imperiled citythrough the lives of nine characters over forty years and bracketed by twoepic storms: Hurricane Betsy, which transformed the city in the 1960’s, and
  2. 2. Katrina, which nearly destroyed it. These nine lives are windows into everystrata of one of the most complex and fascinating cities in the world. Fromoutsider artists and Mardi Gras Kings to jazz-playing coroners andtranssexual barkeeps, these lives are possible only in New Orleans, butthe city that nurtures them is also, from the beginning, a city haunted bythe possibility of disaster. All their stories converge in the storm, wheresome characters rise to acts of heroism and others sink to the bottom. Butit is New Orleans herself—perpetually whistling past the grave yard—thatis the story’s real heroine. Nine Lives is narrated from the points of view of some of New Orleans’smost charismatic characters, but underpinning the voices of the city is anextraordinary feat of reporting that allows Baum to bring this kaleidoscopicportrait to life with brilliant color and crystalline detail. Readers will findthemselves wrapped up in each of these individual dramas and delightfullyimmersed in the life of one of this country’s last unique places, even as itsultimate devastation looms ever closer. By resurrecting this beautiful andtragic place and portraying the extraordinary lives that could have takenroot only there, Nine Lives shows us what was lost in the storm and whatremains to be saved. Amazon Exclusive: Dan Baum on Nine Lives Hurricane Katrina was the kind of event a reporter waits hisentire life to cover. It was especially satisfying doing so for The NewYorker. While newspaper and television reporters chased about feverishlyin their attempt to feed the insatiable daily news monster, I enjoyed thetime to go deep and peel back the tragedy in all its complexity. I wrote halfa dozen short “Talk of the Town” pieces and two long articles over thefollowing year. Even working for The New Yorker, though, coveringKatrina and its aftermath became frustrating. The longer I stayed in NewOrleans, the more I understood that huge as Katrina was, it is hardly themost interesting thing about New Orleans. New Orleans is the mostunusual place I’ve ever been—complicated, sensual, self-contradictory,hilarious, infuriating—and it was the place itself, not the tragedy that befellit, that I wanted to write about. So when my wife and I thought about writing a book, it wasn’t a “Katrinabook” we had in mind. We finally settled on interweaving the life stories ofnine New Orleanians—rich and poor and in between, black and white andin between, male and female and in between. Nine Lives begins in 1965,right after the last time a big part of the city flooded during a hurricane. Bythis we want to say: New Orleans was there a long time before HurricaneKatrina and it will be there a long time after. Katrina doesn’t show up inNine Lives until past page 200.
  3. 3. We had two guiding principles: No bad guys, and all happy endings. Allnine of these people are, in their own way, heroes. And while we couldhave ended any of their stories on a down note, we instead end all at amoment of ascendance. There are many ways of looking at New Orleans,but this is how we chose to do so in Nine Lives. We were careful not to make Nine Lives the kind of issue book one mustread to understand current events. We want people to read it for the samereason they read The Kite Runner or The Bridges of Madison County —outof love of the characters and a warm, delicious eagerness to see their livesunfold. New Orleans is above all, a fun place, and we tried to make NineLives as much fun to read. —Dan BaumFeatures:* ISBN13: 9780385523202* Condition: NEW* Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.Personal Review: Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death, and Life inNew Orleans by Dan BaumNew Orleans. Theres no other city like it in the United States. Its southern,its French, its Spanish, its African-American. Its the filé in the gumbo, thelait in the café, the feathers of the Mardi Gras Indians and theimprovisation of a jazz ensemble.And we nearly lost it. We nearly lost it all.A lot of books have been written about Hurricane Katrina. Ive read abunch of them. This is one of the best, mostly because its not merelyabout Katrina. After I came back from the Jazz and Heritage Festival in2006, I wrote in my Live Journal: "I picked up a book while I was there,Chris Roses 1 Dead in Attic, a collection of his articles in the Times-Picayune. And in the eponymous article he writes about some homes inthe Eighth Ward, where many of the Mardi Gras Indians live, and wherethey have retrieved their tattered and muddy Indian suits and sequins andfeathers and they have nailed them to the fronts of their houses." NewOrleans has nailed its colors to its houses; its not going without a fight.This is Baums effort to understand and explain, through the lives of nineNew 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 stillstruggle) so hard to return and rebuild. He interviewed these folks (as wellas friends, relatives and co-workers) for days, you feel that he knows themas well as he knows himself.His interviewees are as varied as youd expect: a high school band leader,a transsexual bar owner, the coroner of Orleans Parish, a single mom from
  4. 4. the hood determined to have a better life, a millionaire king of carnival, thewife (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 tomake their city a better place. It hasnt always been easy. Wilbert Rawlins,Jr.s devotion to his band kids, knowing that for many hes the only father,for some the only parent, that they know, nearly loses him the woman heloves. Billy Grace, Rex, King of Carnival, risks losing status to open up thekrewes (those social organizations that drive Mardi Gras). Ronald Lewisfights for equal rights on the job, and starts a second-line club to "bring alittle pride back" to the Lower Ninth. Setbacks dont stop them, so whyshould Katrina?Rather than tell one persons story and then the next, Baum has told thestories in bits and pieces, chronologically, beginning in 1965, withHurricane Betsy (described by Lewis as "a force of nature more powerfulthan his mom") and ending two years after Katrina. This structure gives thebook such great force and drive that I finished it at about 1:00 in themorning, unwilling (unable, really) to stop reading. Theres an incredibletension in reading the dates under each section, as we move closer andcloser to that weekend in 2005.When jazz great Irvin Mayfield was interviewed by NPR shortly afterKatrina, he said "jazz is about taking what you have and making the best ofit, and doing it with style". Thats what these folks did with their lives, andare still doing to make New Orleans come alive again. For More 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price: Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death, and Life in New Orleans by Dan Baum 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price!