After Hurricane Katrina, Dan Baum
moved to New Orleans to write about the city’s response to the disaster for The New Yorker
. He quickly realized that Katrina was not the most interesting thing about New Orleans, not by a long shot. His book Nine Lives
is a multi-voiced biography of this dazzling, surreal, and imperiled city through the lives of nine characters over forty years and bracketed by two epic storms: Hurricane Betsy, which transformed the city in the 1960’s, and Katrina, which nearly destroyed it.