Reviewed by John Glover, Reference Librarian for the Humanities
Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005 with amazing destructive force. The tragic and stunning aftermath, particularly in New Orleans, riveted the nation, as Americans watched their fellow citizens struggle to survive and then repopulate a direly damaged city. A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge is part of the new wave of non-fiction comics, using literary and artistic techniques that are finally being acknowledged as such to tell the stories of a handful of residents of the city.
Josh Neufeld combined the tools of the graphic artist with the approach of an investigative journalist, spending hour after hour following their lives in interviews and on blogs, and talking with them personally. The result is a handsomely produced book that can be read in an afternoon, but which will linger in your head for days. The tragedies and tales of Katrina that have been documented by newspapers, magazines, and book-length studies come to life in Neufeld's hands as set down in the pages of A.D. Give it a read if you like comics or graphic novels, because Neufeld's technique is effective and understated, or give it a read to get some of the backstory of Katrina, and to find the answers to the question so many people asked: "Why did they stay?"