“1 Dead in Attic” by Chris Rose
I’m often drawn to dark non-fiction, so Chris Rose’s “1 Dead in Attic,” about the months after Hurricane Katrina destroyed his beloved city of New Orleans, was a pretty obvious choice for something I’d read and be riveted by.
Rose, a reporter for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, wrote frankly and with minute honesty about the situations and feelings he experienced in the days and months after the massive hurricane in his column, and his writings are collected in this volume. From accounts of people fleeing the city – and some, including a cat lady, sticking it out – to restaurants and families trying to get going again, every word of Rose’s writing is truthful, hopeful, cranky, and bitter (particularly when he addresses certain politicians.) In a time where walking past a dead body stops bothering people, there are still beautiful moments to find. It’s that kind of book – often hard to read, but worth continuing.
As a portrait of the aftermath of unthinkable tragedy, “1 Dead in Attic” should be on everyone’s bookcase. Piece by piece, board by board, inch by inch, the city of New Orleans moves forward and back to a new normal. This book is a stunning picture of the survival of a city that refuses to give up. I was fascinated, and I devoured every page.