’1 Dead in Attic’

No, that’s not the headline atop the Bulletin’s “click picks” list online. It’s the title of a collection of post-Katrina columns from Chris Rose of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

I picked up a copy at Beckham’s Bookshop while visiting the City That Care Forgot, having heard good things. I dipped in, liked what I read and bought it. By the time I’d left for home I’d read about half, finishing the back half a few days ago.

Excellent stuff. Rose became a voice for the Crescent City, chronicling the community’s collective despair, helplessness and triumph. He defends Mardi Gras, cheers for the Saints and finds a strange sense of excitement when the first stoplight is turned back on. There’s also the story of Miss Ellen, his shut-in neighbor who whiled away her time after the hurricane by painting pictures on blown-off roof shingles.

By the end of 2006, where the book ends, Rose was recovering from a near-breakdown, much like his city.

He’s rarely angry in his columns but usually direct, empathetic and often very funny.

So, for anyone interested in a ground-level view of New Orleans’ recovery, as well as in reading a real columnist for a change (ahem), “1 Dead in Attic” is recommended.

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