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Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  7,913 ratings  ·  1,291 reviews
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina's monstrous winds and surging water overwhelmed the protective levees around low-lying New Orleans, Louisiana. Eighty percent of the city flooded, in some places under twenty feet of water. Property damages across the Gulf Coast topped $100 billion. One thousand eight hundred and thirty-three people lost their lives. The riveting tale ...more
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  7,913 ratings  ·  1,291 reviews

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Jon Nakapalau
Powerful book that looks at the best and the worst in people that was brought out after this epic disaster - art really meshes well with the story.
I'm so glad someone decided to write this history down for people. There are many things in this book that I didn't know and pay attention to during this national crisis. I knew people died and I didn't think of them floating in the streets. I didn't realize the government let these people fight for their lives.

This is a powerful story. It is short and sad and honest I feel. There is much suffering in these pages with some hope at the end. What is so damaging is having the oil and gas leak into
Dov Zeller
This book tells the story of Hurricane Katrina in a way that is pulled back (not focusing on particular individuals' experiences as other books I've read have), brief, and really powerful. By the end I felt frustrated, angry, helpless and a little hopeless, though the author tries to give a little pep talk at the end. (Not sure what I think of the end. Feels a little hurriedly pasted on.) I definitely left this book with a better and more visceral understanding of the storm, the hard-hit landsca ...more
This graphic novel shows the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in a way that text alone could never convey. It was a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book, awarded annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in the United States in English during the preceding year. The book delivers the chilling statistics with powerful illustrations.

In the fall of 2015, while at a conference, I took a tour of the Ninth Ward. This wasn't
Gary Anderson
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Virtually every page of Drowned City elicits gasps as we first understand the astonishing power of the storm and then the inept responses of local officials and the Bush administration. Heroes are few in this tale, but credit is given to law enforcement officers who stayed on the job (while some of their colleagues resorted to looting), individual rescuers who saved neighbors and strangers, and the people of New Orleans who did what they had to do to survive the storm and its aftermath.

Readers o
David Schaafsma
Oct 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Brown's story for young readers, maybe middle grades and YA, telling the story of Katrina. Lots of books out there now to bump it up against. What's the use of this one? It introduces young people to the basic facts without skirting some of the complicated and/or shameful political/racial issues. And it's evocative, watercolored, more concerned with emotions and contemplation than photorealism. Well done. Spare.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I just read Don Brown's graphic non-fiction Dust Bowl, which I thought was excellent. This book, however, tops that. I'd give it 6 stars if I could. It's the most powerful narrative I've ever read/seen about how the survivors of Hurricane Katrina suffered. And not just people, but animals too. My heart ached for them all over again. He also ably depicted the confusion and chaos that ensued in government as no one seemed to know how to organize help. I couldn't help but compare it to what happene ...more
I had mixed feelings about this one. While I greatly appreciate the need to tell the lessons of Katrina to young people, I feel like this book goes about it in a fairly dry, impersonal way, which for a disaster that was at its core a human tragedy, seems like a misstep. There's no shortage of concrete facts presented here, but it's all done at a bit of a remove, and in a textbook-like manner that left me cold. The artwork is well done, but I found myself wondering more about who these people wer ...more
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I started reading this book I had no idea that it was a graphic novel and this is the first one that I have ever read before. It was written exactly as it happened (Hurricane Katrina) and it didn't miss a beat. The drawings were incredibly and the story is spot on. A good book for children. It was a bit shocking to see it in words and pictures once again but it certainly told the truth.
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I finished this book over lunch. It is a super quick read, but very informative. I thought that the style of the images really depicted the emotion and tragedy of the event.
Dec 04, 2017 added it
Really short. Really sad. Thats all Im gonna say about it.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
First, I'll inform everyone that this book is non-fiction, and is a graphic novel. Though I don't normally like non-fiction, I really loved this book. The illustrations were beautiful, and nothing like I've ever seen before. In fact, this was probably my favorite graphic novel of all time! But, just as a warning, this book does inform readers about Hurricane Katrina, or course, so there are some illustrations in here that some people don't want to read.
Anita Kessling
This is the first graphic novel I have read. I think it is an interesting and engaging way to write a story. The illustrations were amazing and really conveyed the sense of horror and disaster of the situation.
Anthony Linthicum
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Don Brown's graphic novel, "Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans," was my first foray into the world of graphic novels. After finishing it, I was quite impressed. The author provides a clear and comprehensive account of what occurred before, during, and after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in late-August 2005. Brown describes the prediction of the storm, its path, and the devastation it wreaked on the city. He also provides a chilling account of what the people of New Orleans witne ...more
Cristina Monica
I wanted desperately to read this book because, in my Anthropology class, we talked about the way Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans and how catastrophic the impacts were, especially for Black communities, since many of them lived below sea level.

However, we only talked about it for one class, read one article and watched one short film, so I felt like I still had a lot to learn, particularly about the ways in which Hurricane Katrina affected people on the emotional level. Facts are great,
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I keep surprising myself with how much I love the graphic novel format. I've never read a comic book before, but I'm a fan of non-fiction graphic novels. This book is no exception, it tells the story that plain text, or even text w illustrations wouldn't be able to.

Younger kids would pick up on the horror and destruction of the weather disaster, but the the author lightly alludes to the nightmare of administrative coordination that completely missed the boat in providing aid to those in need. P
I love the succinct, matter-of-fact, as-it-happens (i.e., present-tense) narrative, which reminds me of the news coverage, and its powerful emotional impact on me. A very eye-opening book, especially for someone like me, who knew VERY little about the subject.

Also, I love the colors:

and the composition of the illustrations:

However, I am not a fan of Don Brown's rough and sketchy drawing style, especially when it comes to human faces, but that's a matter of taste.
Thomas Andrikus
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
It saddens me to read this whole thing as an adult. I was only 15 when Hurricane Katrina happened, and I was not even in the US back then. But only by reading this book I can understand how badly mismanaged were FEMA, and all three levels of govt (city+state+federal) that so many people had to suffer and even die (as many as 1400 died) because of this disaster. And Bush did not even bother to go back to White House immediately when Katrina happened...he waited two days because he was "busy" vaca ...more
Jonathan Maas
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This wasn't quite like any illustrated tale I've read before. First of all, this graphic novel is non-fiction. Second of all, there are no characters, short of those in actual history - President Bush Jr. etc.

But it tells the tale of Katrina, and the devastation that it caused. It does it quickly as well - I'd check it out.
Robert Hobkirk
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A factual account of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina hit it with illustrations by the author, Don Brown. It's in the format of a comic book, except it's hardback and the story is real, rather than fiction. Excellent illustrations and succinct writing. Check it out.
Mrs. Davi
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting way to present information on a true subject. I like the conflicting arguments raised within the story. I think this would be a great way for kids to research and pick out facts and opinions!
Edward Sullivan
An outstanding graphic nonfiction chronicle of the catastrophe that will be appreciated by a wide audience. Dynamic, gripping, and moving.
Kayla Leitschuh
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A very informational, honest, and emotional look at Hurricane Katrina and the disaster relief effort in graphic novel format.
This outstanding graphic novel depiction of the events that occurred before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina focuses on New Orleans, much of which was under water after August 29, 2005. Relying on illustrations created with pen and ink and digital paint, the illustrator has somehow managed to thrust readers into the hectic events surrounding this natural disaster. Even the book jacket depicts skies filled with helicopters and the city's citizens looking for relief even while the back cover s ...more
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What amazed me most about this graphic novel was how well it depicts the devastation that Hurricane Katina caused in New Orleans and in the surrounding communities. The intensity, distress and ugliness that surrounded this event were felt throughout the illustrations and in the text. As this storm gathers steam in Africa in the beginning pages and it makes its way across the Atlantic waters, I could see the swirling black mass approaching the coastline, getting darker and gathering strength, as ...more
Jordan Forrest
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Drowned City Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans has left me feeling extremely saddened and with a taste of distrust. While I was familiar with Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it caused, I was not educated on the timeline of events and the steps that were taken in regards to the people of New Orleans during the evacuation process. To begin, it was unnerving to know that some people were unable to evacuate the city, because of age, poverty, or choice. Initially, I felt irritation thinking abo ...more
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans is an incredibly inventive way of broaching the subject of one of the worst natural disasters to hit the United States in its history. Though a text based book could arguably convey more information, the graphic novel style format was able to display a sense of realism to the reader. This is particularly important for nonfiction texts like this to drive home the fact that these events did happen and the consequences were dire.
The amounts of detail
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Drowned City by Don Brown is an excellent graphic navel on Hurricane Katrina. In 2005, I was 20 years old living in Maryland and I remember the disaster, at least, the things shown on television. I think the Katrina Disaster was a mess and Brown does a great job explaining and illustrating the disaster. I like how Brown was unbiased towards the political leaders in charge. Brown did a good job avoiding personal opinion. He allows the reader to make their own judgement. I, especially, liked how h ...more
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.25 Very haunting, very informative and an important read. The artwork was phenomenal in this book and really captured so many emotions so well. The story is almost unbelievable and makes one wonder how relief efforts are currently going in other devastated areas hard hit by natural disasters. I would have enjoyed a little more depth in some of the story lines instead of things just being alluded to, but I think the author was being careful to tell an important story without being too political ...more
Kara Belden
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this down once I started it! It is fascinating, shocking, and devastating. I remembering watching the news at the time, but I have never learned MANY of the details included in this book. How could so many different aspects have gone wrong? The hurricane wasn't the only disaster. I am so sorry for he people of New Orleans, and I am still in disbelief.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Don Brown is the award-winning author and illustrator of many picture book biographies. He has been widely praised for his resonant storytelling and his delicate watercolor paintings that evoke the excitement, humor, pain, and joy of lives lived with passion. School Library Journal has called him "a current pac

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