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1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  2,151 ratings  ·  376 reviews
1 Dead in Attic is a collection of stories by Times-Picayune columnist Chris Rose, recounting the first harrowing year and a half of life in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Celebrated as a local treasure and heaped with national praise, Rose provides a rollercoaster ride of observation, commentary, emotion, tragedy, and even humor—in a way that only he could ...more
Paperback, 364 pages
Published August 21st 2007 by Simon & Schuster (first published December 31st 2005)
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Erik
In the United States, there exists only 3 cities whose inhabitants actually love the cities in which they inhabit. They are: San Francisco, New Orleans and New York. If you have not lived in any of these, you probably aren't aware of the palpable affection and pride we have for these fabled places. We know our neighbors. We know the history of buildings and events that have been handed down through oral history.

So, when Katrina hit New Orleans and eviscerated it and then flooded it, it not only
...more
A. Gamble
I had an odd experience while reading this book. It happened between pages 229 and 237. Rose transitions from playing basketball at Wisner Park on the redone Sprite court in the middle of a mess to having his hair cut at a salon on Oak Street. For over two hundred pages, he'd been talking about my city, but all of a sudden, he stepped onto my home turf and it hit, well, home.

Growing up, my surrogate aunts, those saviors of my awkward adolescence, lived by Wisner Park, so when my boyfriend and I
...more
kat
Aug 17, 2008 kat rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everybody
Shelves: new-read
"Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?" so the old song goes, and I can definitively answer, "Yes, I do." When Seth and I were breaking up it was after the first wave of Katrina horror stories, after the news had tired of this latest Bush tragedy, after I had exhausted my meager means of curtailing whatever Government-funded looting I could possibly curtail. But when Seth and I were breaking up it was the beginning of the longer recovery effort, and Homeland Security was hiring Jack-of- ...more
Francis
But don't even try to read this without a box of Kleenex. In all honesty, I probably needed a few boxes. Waterworks 4.0.
Linda Lipko
The title is taken from writing on a flood destroyed house, indicating yet another victim of the Hurricane Katrina New Orleans tragedy .

This book, written by an award-winning Times Picayune columnist, contains one-chapter short stories that are simply incredible.

Rather than outline what led to Katrina, Rose focuses on the aftermath of the hurricane. His heart rendering account of a year and a half after is so well written that at times I laughed and others I cried. His pithy, heart breaking an
...more
Colin
I really wanted to like this book. Ultimately, though, a few things kept me from doing so.

1. Rhythm. It's essentially a 350-page book made up of 3-page columns, reprinted as they were initially published in the newspaper. What was probably wonderfully moving on a daily basis loses a lot of its power when surrounded by a hundred others just like it. Also, since each column works as a self-contained whole, the reader is constantly taken to some sort of emotional climax.

2. Pacing. See Rhythm above.
...more
Bale
A compelling and heartbreaking review of life in southern Lousiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This book restored my faith in the art of journalism. Chris Rose deals with pain and triumph in the face of adversity and equally serves those who lived through the tragedy and those who witnessed in only through the news media. As a helicopter pilot tasked with rescuing endangered citizens, putting out fires and bringing supplies to cutoff residents, this book helped bring me closer to the ...more
alex
Rose is a good, emotionally evocative writer, but I found it hard to get through this. Partly because the essays are not grouped chronologically, and partly because the nature of a collection of newspaper columns is that they will be disjointed, and I had trouble staying with them. I have the same problem with collections of short stories - I don't like changing tracks over and over, I need a continuous narrative. It was also hard for me to read these knowing that at the time of publication Rose ...more
Amanda
Seriously, I can't believe the Times-Pic publishes someone who regularly uses the word "gangbanger." I don't think this collection of Chris Rose's columns reflects very much or any critical thought about race, class, and the responsibility of the government in the post-Katrina recovery efforts--how can you leave those issues out?!? On the other hand, I do appreciate this book as a personal account of how Katrina profoundly affected the psychological health of people living in New Orleans.
J
This was an emotionally difficult read for me. I almost appreciated that fragmented nature of the assemblage of several years' worth of Rose's columns, instead of a unifying narrative. That same sort of disruptive rhythm, that yanked me back from immersion at the end of each three- or five-page essay echoed the stop-and-start process of healing so many went through after Katrina.

On a very personal level, it provoked a return to my own reflections on home - what makes a place feel that way; what
...more
Deb
1 Dead in Attic is the third book I've read about Hurricane Katrina's destruction of New Orleans.

Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers, a memoirist who didn't experience Katrina but wrote this work from interviews, tells the story of the experiences of New Orleans painting contractor Abdulrahman Zeitoun, who stayed in New Orleans during the storm only to be arrested and imprisoned in a wire cage for weeks.

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, by Sheri Fink, a medical investigati
...more
Jeannie
Loved this book, loved this author. Need I say more? Well...yes and here goes:

Chris is a columnist for a paper in New Orleans and writes from his heart about what has happened to his beloved city New Orleans. Who among us can say "New Orleans" and not have a thrill race up our spine? even IF we've never been there, we've always wanted to go there. There is an aura in the South that cannot be replicated anywhere else, the air not only smells different but it feels different. New Orleans is a city
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Andrew
Entertained by it but not a huge fan.

I will say that this may be due to the fact that I read it over 5 years after Katrina (and have been living here the entire time), and any feeling of "rebuilding" New Orleans is long gone... the city is back to normal as far as I'm concerned.

Not a huge fan of anything inspirational. Call me a pessimist (I am not); I hated Slumdog Millionare. Although the book deals with many depressing issues, it is backed with Rose's hope for New Orleans to return, but expla
...more
Stewart
Chris Rose has a wonderful eye for capturing all of the unique little brushstrokes that constitute the moving and complex portrait that is post-Katrina New Orleans. His stories are of comfortable lives suddenly thrust into a third-world existence by a natural disaster horribly mismanaged. The old rules and securities vanished, to be replaced by the heart-breaks, absurdities and small wonders of a community teetering on the margins, but refusing to topple.

While most journalists and books focused
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Beckie
"1 Dead in Attic" is a collection of Times-Picayune reporter Chris Rose's post-Katrina columns.
For the post part, Rose manages to avoid the trap of writing repetitive, formulaic pieces, which I think must be tough for columnists in any circumstance and tougher still for one facing aftermath of a hurricane.
Rose himself got off relatively easy, as his home, job and family survived the storm. Then again, his marriage and his mental health did not. It says something about journalism that a man woul
...more
Megan
When I moved to New Orleans in 2010, one of the TV stations was running these "Guess who's back!" ads to promote the return of someone famous, quintessentially New Orleans, and much beloved. After weeks of this, the mystery person joining the news team was revealed! And it was a bitter-looking, sardonic man. It was Chris Rose. I did not make an effort to watch his segments.

A little more than three years later, I'm preparing to move onto the next phase in my life - out of New Orleans. I have avoi
...more
Mark Muckerman
5 stars for New Orleaneans; 4 for those who have visited and love the city, and probably a 3 star rating for strangers to the Crescent City. The stories, legends, epic failings, and media hype completely fail to capture the spirit that is New Orleans, the physical and spiritual damage that Katrina and its aftermath (environmental and bureaucratic) did to one of the most vibrant cultural enclaves in America. The 'real' New Orleans is the people, the spirit, an approach to life and to people. It's ...more
Colin
I've been going to New Orleans ~ once a month for the last 8 months for work, and picked up this book for a flight home... aside from the occasional pause when it got a bit much and the drive back to the house, I read it in one go.

It's an incredibly vivid book, and while reading it isn't an act of witness like the writing of it, the city and the people deserve that much of your time at least. You don't have to go too far into east New Orleans or for that matter just skirt the perimeter of the L
...more
Lynsie
I evacuated New Orleans the day that Katrina hit, and didn't return for two months. During much of that time, I had no idea what parts of my city were gone, what parts were unscathed. I didn't know if I had a home to return to. Watching CNN all day during the first week drove me insane. But what kept me from falling apart in the end was the snippets I got from Chris Rose. I still remember reading an article he wrote in which he said that Dick and Jenny's restaurant was ok....which was my brother ...more
Dark Star
Such a great piece of writing. I found myself in a mix of emotions while reading Chris's passages. I cried, laughed, trembled and become one with this story. Yes, it was about Hurricane Katrina but it was also a bit about each of us. Our towns, our troubles, our trials of life. Chris made it easy to see inside the city of New Orleans, he made it real for me. I've had the pleasure of visiting NOLA pre-THE THING and want/need to see New Orleans again. Definitely going to look into more by Chris Ro ...more
Max Skidmore
I enjoyed this book and enjoyed reading about first had experiences in the aftermath of Katrina. The author writes these snippets for publication in a local newspaper and the book contains a collection of those writings. One event in particular struck me. The author was int the parking lot of a convenience store and watched someone discard a wrapper out his car window. He became so incensed over this that he verbally accosted the other person with boldness, telling him that citizens couldn't lit ...more
K. Ann
This is an important book.

It seems as if there are several critical disaster/storm themes here: immediate danger, survival and aftermath. Chris Rose has put together a poignant collection that speaks to all three themes, though so many of the most memorable stories here arise from post-storm struggles. Many so powerful. The reason it's so important is that collectively and individually we need to move past images remaining in our memory from national media accounts, which are largely snapshots
...more
Dayne
Chris Rose has written one of the most eloquent love songs for the hard-hit and painfully depressed City of New Orleans. It's like a love song to an embittered lover, but a lover nonetheless. Rose, resident funny man of The Times-Picayune newspaper, is the chief troubadour of the Big Easy. He is the most trusted and read commentator in the city.

In his book titled 1 Dead in Attic, you will find some of Mr. Rose's best columns from the Picayune, stories detailing life in an American war zone. Rose
...more
KT
"Everybody loves their home, we know that. But we love South Louisiana with a ferocity that borders on the pathological. Sometimes we bury our dead in LSU sweatshirts. We are what made this place a national treasure. We're good people. And don't be afraid to ask us how to pronounce our names. It happens all the time. When you meet us now and you look into our eyes, you will see the saddest story ever told. Our hearts are broken into a thousand pieces. But don't pity us. We're gonna make it. We'r ...more
Veronica
Great collection - reiterates once again the tenuous hold on survival that we all have in our modern society. I can't truly imagine the horror that the people of NO went through...and I guess I'm still glad for that, in a way. Also, it has made me want to check into the status of the city currently...as the book ended near the end of 2006. Fantastic read and certainly provides a different perspective on the Katrina event than I had previously.
April
This was a recommendation from our tour guide on the Treme tour that we took when I was at ALA in New Orleans. She said it would give you the best feel for how it really was. She was amazing! Take the tour with Sandy. She was there. So far I am crying and laughing and have to pause and read other things for while because it is overwhelming. Anyone who wants to really get a feel for what went on after Katrina should read this. It is not an easy read.
Jeanine
Wonderful. Such a gift to read this account of natural disaster. An emotional journey written with such talent and wit and grit and honesty.
I devoured this book.
I wish to thank Chris Rose. This account validated so many of my own experiences. He gave a name to the lifestyle I led in the aftermath of the 2010 Nashville Flood. Those many months of " bunker living". He offered me a fresh perspective on my own personal losses.
It is quite PC to pass off ruined possessions as " just stuff". Chris wr
...more
Kayl Parker
I picked up 1 Dead in Attic due to my recent placement in New Orleans for work. It's very apparent quite quickly that much of the city's personality and fame comes from it's history, so I wanted to acquaint myself with a few of the major events in NOLA's past, the most obvious being Hurricane Katrina.

1 Dead in Attic is in every locally owned bookstore, normally out on display, so it seemed like the obvious choice. I guess I was expecting an accumulated version of stories documented around a comm
...more
Corinne
The audience for this book is the people of New Orleans. I liked that about it. The author didn't write to make outsiders understand this very special place. He wrote this for New Orleans. Readers who aren't from New Orleans or don't know it intimately will sometimes struggle with his geographical or cultural references. I've decided that I'm glad I was made to feel like an outsider who couldn't quite understand what he was talking about. Because I am. Despite having been close to the forefront ...more
James Kaihatu
Chris Rose, a former writer for the Times-Picayune who went back to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, writes about his daughter, who is asking him about the fates of their friends.

"Katherine asks me about the specific fates of two other friends, Juliet and Nadia. I tell her that, truth is, I have no idea what happened to Juliet and Nadia. Not a clue. Vanished. They're just gone and we don't know where to or for how long and maybe we'll see them again and maybe we won't."

"Kids don't work so we
...more
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“To encapsulate the notion of Mardi Gras as nothing more than a big drunk is to take the simple and stupid way out, and I, for one, am getting tired of staying stuck on simple and stupid.

Mardi Gras is not a parade. Mardi Gras is not girls flashing on French Quarter balconies. Mardi Gras is not an alcoholic binge.

Mardi Gras is bars and restaurants changing out all the CD's in their jukeboxes to Professor Longhair and the Neville Brothers, and it is annual front-porch crawfish boils hours before the parades so your stomach and attitude reach a state of grace, and it is returning to the same street corner, year after year, and standing next to the same people, year after year--people whose names you may or may not even know but you've watched their kids grow up in this public tableau and when they're not there, you wonder: Where are those guys this year?

It is dressing your dog in a stupid costume and cheering when the marching bands go crazy and clapping and saluting the military bands when they crisply snap to.

Now that part, more than ever.

It's mad piano professors converging on our city from all over the world and banging the 88's until dawn and laughing at the hairy-shouldered men in dresses too tight and stalking the Indians under Claiborne overpass and thrilling the years you find them and lamenting the years you don't and promising yourself you will next year.

It's wearing frightful color combination in public and rolling your eyes at the guy in your office who--like clockwork, year after year--denies that he got the baby in the king cake and now someone else has to pony up the ten bucks for the next one.

Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, and our joy of living. All at once.”
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“If there was no New Orleans, America would just be a bunch of free people dying of boredom." -Judy Deck in an e-mail sent to Chris Rose” 36 likes
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