The following is the author's response in Flagpole to my review, "A School Not Submerged." It is absolutely fair and reasoned, and I respect Tisserand immensely. I took a bite out of his book for being good, heartwarming, but inessential. It's a closed chapter in an ongoing, and perhaps ultimately tragic, story. New Orleans is still in the throes, and not in Dick Cheney's temporizing sense. Once all the camera crews leave after the second anniversary of Katrina has been eclipsed and the matter is no longer topical, New Orleans will still be there, dying.
New OrleansIf you want to understand the distinctness and necessity of southern Louisiana, read Tisserand's The Kingdom of Zydeco.
originally published August 29, 2007
Thank you to Donn Cooper and Flagpole for such a thoughtful review of Sugarcane Academy (and to Cooper for, in other pages, properly praising the New Orleans sno-ball) [Aug. 15]. I do want to add a bit more to the story: our decision to move was a difficult and complicated one that involved my wife’s loss of a job, as well as issues not related to Katrina, such as ailing parents in the Midwest. (I didn’t go into this part very deeply in the book, maybe I should have - it was pretty raw at the time.) Most importantly, I want to stress that the decision was not made in order to protect my kids from the struggles and even traumas of New Orleans; in fact, we spent a month back home this summer and return frequently, because I believe this magical city has more to teach my kids - and me - than ever before. Despite my current exile in colder climes, I continue to write about and report on life in the city, and I encourage Flagpole readers to visit New Orleans and see it all for yourself. The bars on Magazine Street are always a good place to begin.