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Below the Water Line: Getting Out, Going Back, and Moving Forward in the Decade After Hurricane Katrina

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  57 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Lisa Karlin's memoir describes her family’s hurricane evacuation experiences and all that followed in the decade after Hurricane Katrina. In August 2005, Lisa, her husband, thirteen-year-old daughter, eleven-year-old son, and two dogs evacuated New Orleans for what they thought would be a two-day “hurrication.” Her day-by-day account of the weeks that follow vividly chroni ...more
Paperback, 367 pages
Published August 29th 2015 by Centennial Publishers (first published July 20th 2015)
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Average rating 4.37  · 
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Lisa Reads & Reviews
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction

The journal of Lisa Karlin and her family's experience during and after the widespread devastation caused by Katrina highlights the best and the worst in Americans. From looting, prejudice, and ignorance, to bravery, empathy, and generosity, disasters of Katrina's scale run the gambit of humanity.

The author herself is nonjudgmental, for the most part. She allows the reader to interpret events for themselves. One exception, and rightly so, was the well publicized comment of Barbara Bu
G.J. Griffiths
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Like most others living in the UK I remembered that the southern states of the USA had suffered the devastating effects of three hurricanes “some time ago” and, also like most people, I remarked that I was surprised to hear on the radio that it was as long as ten years ago. When I started reading Lisa Karlin’s amazing account of how it had affected her and her family I noticed that the date was rather spookily the same as in the title of her first chapter: “Just an Ordinary Day”, August 27! It g ...more
Jason Schneeberger
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Many thanks goes out to Centennial Publishing and Netgalley for this review copy.

If you mention the name Hurricane Katrina to anyone in the USA, unless they are a child, it will immediately bring a sense of recognition to their face. The destruction that that hurricane brought in its wake, was unlike anything this country has ever experienced.

BELOW THE WATER LINE tells one family's story, on a day by day account, as they were driven from their New Orleans home by the hurricane and
Oct 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a highly engaging, heartening and immaculately edited book written in clear and concise language. It appears to be thoroughly researched and gave me the clear sense that the author has achieved exactly what she set out to (I also appreciated the understated sense of humour throughout). It is also a timely reminder of just how precariously balanced civilisation is, and how quickly a situation can descend into chaos when suitable checks, balances and contingency plans are not in place (and ...more
Feb 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Having just toured New Orleans, my interest was piqued. Author has published her journal writings. Quick read.
Pearson Moore
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Title: Below the Water Line
Author: Lisa Karlin
Genre: Nonfiction
Length: 80,000 words (estimated)
Rating: 4.5 stars

Below the Water Line is a refreshing, thoughtful, easy-to-read take on the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005. Though author Lisa Karlin provides a serious, sobering, personal account of the tragedy, the narrative remains light, with regular doses of dark humor, irony, and vivid first-hand accounts of people coping and enduring some of the worst cond
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
If you have watched the news at all this weekend, I'm sure you have heard that it is the 10-Year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. It's hard to believe it has been that long and yet, it is likely that the majority of our country has forgotten about Hurricane Katrina, but for residents of New Orleans, there are still reminders of the destruction and devastation the storm left behind. Karlin and her family survived, but still find remembering the horrific details of those days, weeks, months and y ...more
Laura Thomas
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was listening to the morning news while finishing up my review of this book when I happened to overhear the newscaster mention it was the 10th anniversary since Hurricane Katrina made landfall.

I’m sure everyone remembers that day. Whether you were in the path of the storm or not, all eyes and ears were tuned to the storm.

I live on the Gulf Coast and have been through many hurricanes. We were hit by Ivan the year before Katrina. I ran from that storm and when they allowe
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A stunning first-hand account of one family’s experiences during and after hurricane Katrina

When Lisa Karlin first heard about the approaching hurricane Katrina, she felt sure it would change course and spare New Orleans, just like all the other hurricanes for the past 40 years had done.

But when the first ever mandatory evacuation orders are given for The Big Easy, it soon becomes overwhelmingly clear that she, and her family, need to get out fast.

Packing the car with basic necessities, Lisa, her husband, two kids, and two
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Below The Water Line, author Lisa Karlin provides the reader with a personal first-hand account of her family's experience of living through the devastating effect of Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005.

The memoir is taken from the author's journal entries of her family's experiences before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina hit their home in New Orleans. The journal entries spans a decade since the devastating storm changed their way of life.

This is a heartfelt an
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The one thing in life that is constant is change.In this heartfelt account, Lisa Karlin shares her family’s escape from New Orleans and how they survived hurricane Katrina.The family finds ways of coping with the lack of water, electricity and gridlock. The story continues as they try to rebuild their lives and cope with the changes forced upon them. I am not certain if anyone can really recover from a situation like Katrina. What I found with this book was that this family stuck together, dealt ...more
Lana Konrad
Aug 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Addictive read and a must read for all my fellow Nola neighbors. Emotions surfaced and pride in my beloved Nola was deepened. This book will make one laugh, cry and identify. Love, love, loved it!
Lisa of Hopewell
Nov 04, 2019 marked it as to-read
I learned of this book via this post:
Feb 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir
In the interest of full disclosure, I don't usually like memoirs and - unfortunately - Below the Water Line reminds me exactly why I don't usually like memoirs. I bought this book likely by accident while Black Friday shopping. I skimmed the book's write up, thought it was about how the city of New Orleans had recovered from Katrina and just added it to my cart. It wasn't until I was several chapters into the book that it was clear that Below the Water Line was a personal account of the author's ...more
Donna McBroom-Theriot
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Just reading the excerpt brought back many memories. We that live in the Southern states have seen and participated in our fair share of hurricane evacs (evacuations), only to return as the hurricane scurried off to another state. The decision whether to evacuate or not weighs heavily on the individual mind, especially when children or elderly are involved.

Growing up, we never evacuated. My dad was a Louisiana State Trooper and as we all know, they are the last to leave the highways.
Story Circle Book Reviews
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
On August 30, 2005, Lisa Karlin takes out her journal and starts to write, as she says, "partly to capture...information, but also to keep me busy and distract me from thinking the worst about our family's future." The Karlin family includes Lisa, an oncology nurse, her surgeon-husband Richard, their son and daughter, and two dogs. In less than three days, they go from thinking of Hurricane Katrina as giving them a short vacation from their everyday lives, to considering whether they will ever b ...more
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
There have been a multitude of books written about Hurricane Katrina and its devastating damage to New Orleans. Below the Water Line tells the story from a unique perspective.

The evacuation: Lisa and Rich, having been through this nightmare before, packed up what they could and headed West for Houston. There was gridlock on the highway, as thousands of cars shared their destination. Consulting the map, they altered their course and made for Mississippi and Florida. Gas stations closed; grocery
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars! What a positive thing to do when everything in your life feels negative. Write a journal and then write a book. I really liked this story even though I'm one of the Houstonians who saw firsthand how some of the Katrina victims treated volunteers. Upset because they just got sandwiches at the Astrodome, that was just sad and I know not typical of all the evacuees.

I feel this story was well written and I'm surprised that the author was only drinking one bottle of wine a day.
Bonnye Reed
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: keepers
XXX This book was listed as a Goodreads Giveaway, and though I was not chosen to receive a free paperback, Lisa Karlin was generous enough to send me a Kindle copy at no charge. I am really excited to read this memoir - New Orleans holds a bright spot in my Southern soul. Thank you, Ms. Karlin!

This is a memoir that will break your heart and still give you faith in the kindness of strangers. I could not put it down until the Karlin family was safely settled into the year 2014. There i
Sep 22, 2015 added it
Lisa Karlin's book isn't just about the hours, days, weeks and months after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. While Lisa is able to take the reader through the moments she went through with her family, but Lisa also shows the human spirit and the will to live.

Having been through Katrina myself, I found this to be the type of reading that let the past wash over me, and remind me that I am much stronger for the experience. Even if you've never been through a hurricane, or have been fo
Candice Kamencik
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Biographies are usually not my thing, I'm a scifi/fantasy reader by nature, but I decided to give this a try as I was interested in the subject matter. Needless to say, I was impressed.

The way this book was written is the big draw honestly. The author's style drove the story, and really conveyed the emotions she and her family felt during this time in their lives. Worry, stress, persistent frustration and disbelief - I felt it all as I put myself in her shoes. Not only was the book a
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
A moving look at one family's experience of living through Katrina. This book chronicles the author's day to day experience both during and after Katrina, the good and the bad. It clearly was a life altering event for everyone in the family, including the dogs but they persevered and even returned to rebuild their lives as New Orleans was rebuilding itself.

I received a copy of this book for free from Net Galley but the opinions expressed are solely my own.
Susan Obryan
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hurricane Katrina is no stranger. The public has been hearing about it for 10 years, especially here in the South.

However, I've never read such a fascinating perspective as that presented by author Lisa Karlin. Her day-to-day accounting shows the strength and resilience that have brought New Orleans and its residents through the storm and its aftermath.

Thank you, Lisa!

ARC provided by NetGalley
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a well thought out book of the tragedy that took place. There are no words to really describe the feeling that ran through me as I read each and every word. You can feel the emotions of each word written. Loved this book!

*Received for an honest review*
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow what an interesting book. I can't believe what author and family went through. The news was obviously telling what was going on, but to hear story upon story was just heartbreaking.
Really put together nicely.
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
A heartfelt and honest account of a family's struggle to find normality in the midst of a most devastating hurricane. A great read.
Charlotte Padgett
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What an interesting look at one family's trip through Katrina. Having just recently read the book Katrina, this was really remarkable seeing how it was for this family.
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Got this book free through netgalley. I liked it a lot. Couldn't put it down for the first half. As it's been teen years, it was interesting to be reminded of part of history.
Richard Nurse
rated it it was amazing
Sep 02, 2015
Destiny Brown
rated it it was amazing
Jul 23, 2015
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Lisa Karlin is an oncology nurse and author who resides with her family in New Orleans, Louisiana.