Heart Like Water

Heart Like Water

Surviving Katrina and Life in Its Disaster Zone

Book - 2007
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Try it. Right now. Picture the lights going off in the room you're sitting in. The computer, the air conditioning, phones, everything. Then the people, every last person in your building, on the street outside, the entire neighborhood, vanished. With them go all noises: chitchat, coughs, cars, and that wordless, almost impalpable hum of a city. And animals: no dogs, no birds, not even a cricket's legs rubbing together, not even a smell. Now bump it up to 95 degrees. Turn your radio on and listen to 80 percent of your city drowning. You're almost there. Only twenty-eight days to go.

Joshua Clark never left New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, choosing instead to band together with fellow holdouts in the French Quarter, pooling resources and volunteering energy in an effort to save the city they loved. When Katrina hit, Clark, a key correspondent for National Public Radio during the storm, immediately began to record hundreds of hours of conversations with its victims, not only in the city but throughout the Gulf: the devastated poor and rich alike; rescue workers from around the country; reporters; local characters who could exist nowhere else but New Orleans; politicians; the woman Clark loved, in a relationship ravaged by the storm. Their voices resound throughout this memoir of a unique and little-known moment of anarchy and chaos, of heartbreaking kindness and incomprehensible anguish, of mercy and madness as only America could deliver it.

Paying homage to the emotional power of Joan Didion, the journalistic authority of Norman Mailer, and the gonzo irreverence of Tom Wolfe, Joshua Clark takes us through the experiences of loss and renewal, resilience and hope, in a city unlike any other. With lyrical sympathy, humility, and humor, Heart Like Water marks an astonishing and important national debut.

A portion of the author's royalties from this book will go to the Katrina Arts Relief and Emergency Support (KARES) fund, which supports New Orleans-area writers affected by the storm.Visit www.NewOrleansLiteraryInstitute.com to find out how to make a direct and positive impact on the region.
Publisher: New York : Free Press, 2007
Edition: 1st Free Press hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781416537632
Branch Call Number: History 976.335 CLA


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Jan 21, 2018

This book is alright–I can't stand the author, the way he treats his girlfriend in the book (abandoning her at every turn) and his self-indulgent way of writing. Before reading this book it's good to keep in mind that it's written by a white guy who's lives in the French Quarter. There's a certain amount of privilege that comes with those things. Throughout the book, he says it's not about rich and poor, it's about wet and dry but even though that sounds pretty, it's not true. Wet and dry, in the end, boils down to rich and poor, boils down to who can afford to live in the elevated areas (like the Quarter where Clark lives) and stay dry as opposed to who lives in the Lower 9th and is instead hit fatally by both Hurricane Katrina and Rita.
Also, throughout the book, Clark sounds like he's just having a blast, like the time of his life, like he can't imagine anything more exciting than what's going on. Which is disturbing and you know he's having so much fun because he has so much working for him that allows him to not have to worry about death or staying dry or FEMA or family in the jails or anything like that. And that would be fine but he doesn't acknowledge that at all. He just has a great time and is obviously disappointed when life has to return to "normal". It doesn't rub me the right way and I wouldn't recommend this book if you want to learn about Katrina.


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