Well, the paperback is officially out now (though I haven’t yet seen it in an actual store…) Books continue to ship from Amazon and, I assume, from other outlets.
Meanwhile, tomorrow is the anniversary of Katrina. I’m going to have some more politically oriented thoughts on this later, but here just a brief personal recap:
* My Mom just had her destroyed house in Lakeview bulldozed–finally. This was a huge relief. It took forever to make it happen–just like everything does in New Orleans.
* Neither my Dad nor my younger brother sustained much damage to their houses due to the sheer luck of their locations. But my brother lost his musical livelihood in New Orleans and was displaced to New York, currently Astoria, where he’s playing most nights. (Check out his website and listen to his songs here; buy his CDs here.) He just got married in Brazil, and he and his wife have a very cool dog. So he’s doing okay, too, although hacking it as a jazz musician in New York is definitely much more of an uphill struggle.
* My little sister lost her room and all of her possessions in the Lakeview house, and her car. She is off on her junior year abroad to Spain, though, so I think she will survive.
* I didn’t suffer much at all. I didn’t really own anything in New Orleans except for a book collection that is now jello. When Katrina struck I was about to head out on book tour. This actually proved a benefit because it meant that my brother and his wife could come and stay in my apartment in DC.
In short, my family is doing reasonably well after Katrina, although my mom got by far the worst of it. She lost everything she owned. But she will pull through.
The city, though, I’m not so optimistic about. The culture may have been completely destroyed by the displacement of so many interesting and people (like my brother), and the demolition of so many shops and stores and other facets of life. Last time I was in New Orleans, in June, it still looked as though clean-up hadn’t even begun yet. It’s not at all a desirable place to be–quite the contrary, and I suspect that many people will either leave eventually, or simply won’t return at all. And why should they? It’s not even protected against the strongest hurricanes yet.
And that, I fear, may be the real legacy of Katrina: The strangling of the soul of an American city….