Nine Lives

Monday, March 02, 2009

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.


Dan Baum

Comments [11]

Michael Jeter from New Orleans, LA

Lest anyone misconstrue me:

I will not *leave* New Orleans again, although I do miss NYC and hope to visit soon.

Mar. 02 2009 02:05 PM

I agree with Michael Jeter. I lived in New Orleans for 10 years, between 1997-2007 including the time of the storm. The schools have been a disaster before and after the storm. Though some schools have done an incredible job recovering, there is tremendous need for improvement in education in New Orleans and Louisiana as a whole. I also completely disagree with Baum re his assessments of race and sexuality in New Orleans. Compared to elsewhere in the south, New Orleans is generally much more progressive, yes, but racism and homophobia are unfortunately alive and well in New Orleans. It is still geographically located in the deep south / Bible Belt, and neighboring Jefferson Parish is still full of intolerant churches and Confederate flags.

Mar. 02 2009 12:52 PM
Nick from Atlanta, GA

@ [8] Money money money, if you have ever been to New Orleans, you'd want to save it with everything in you as well. It's a wonderful place, one of a kind, a national treasure.

One day NYC may flood as well:

Would you want to abandon your beloved city? Most of Holland is on flood plane and they are doing wonders with their infrastructure. We need to look around and learn from the rest of the world. Some things are too valuable to give up.

Mar. 02 2009 12:37 PM
Eric Jacobson from NYC

Since New Orleans is literally below sea level and sinking, what kind of investment is that?

I love New Orleans also, but it is sinking!


Mar. 02 2009 12:29 PM
Michael Jeter from New Orleans, LA

I grew up in and live in New Orleans, where I returned in 2006 after living 13 years in the New York/New Jersey area.

I have two problems with what the guest said.

The Black community, by and large,loves and is very protective of Mayor Ray Nagin, and the idea th at they have fixed the schools is absurd.

Having said that, I will not live New Orleans again, though I do miss NYC.

Mar. 02 2009 12:28 PM
jose mohan from brooklyn

Can Mr. baum why New Orleans has always had a strong gay community,closeted or not?
This went back to theevents of the Kennedy assassination, whom some people have claimed involved three at bleast partly-gay men: Jack Ruby,Lee H. Oswald and David Ferrie?

Mar. 02 2009 12:23 PM
Nick from Atlanta, GA

I will always have a soft spot for New Orleans, by far one of our most unique and wonderful cities in the country.

Mar. 02 2009 12:23 PM
pb from queens

new orleans. more time than money. sounds like artistic new york in the 70s.

Mar. 02 2009 12:21 PM

why is this guy so smug and argumentative with Leonard? His attitude is doing a dis-service to the Big easy. Geez -

Mar. 02 2009 12:21 PM
antonio ortiz from park slope

I guess Dan has never been to Boerum Hill, Carroll
Gardens, or has been behind the Lincoln Center complex, all of these neighborhoods are in close proximity to people who are well under the poverty line...

Mar. 02 2009 12:21 PM
Steve R from New Orleans

I currently live in New Orleans and New York City. Your guest is right on - after coming down, and 'slowing down', it's the best city. Second to none after NYC. Once you come down, it's hard to leave. Very similar to NYC. I've also lived in Boston & Denver.. No other city has ever made me feel at home. Come on down!

Mar. 02 2009 12:17 PM

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