Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

Many people have helped me write this book, which has been on my mind since the late summer of 2005. While the perspectives on New Orleans offered here are undoubtedly those of an outsider, many “insiders” have kindly helped me shape them. So, first and foremost, I must thank the...

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Introduction: “Is This America?”

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pp. 1-28

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which struck the U.S. Gulf Coast in the late summer of 2005, and which led to the flooding of 80 percent of New Orleans, people imprisoned in the city for offenses as minor as traffic violations found themselves lost in the system, doing what came...

Part I: American Time

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1. New Orleans and Empire: Legacies from the “Age of Revolution”

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pp. 31-64

There is a striking moment in Dave Eggers’s post-Katrina narrative Zeitoun (2009) when the principal protagonist, incarcerated in “Camp Greyhound”— a makeshift prison hastily constructed in New Orleans’ bus station in the storm’s wake—realizes that his surroundings remind him of...

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2. New Orleans and Americanization: “Progress,” “Decline,” and Tourism in the Twentieth Century

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pp. 65-98

One of the most memorable images to emerge from Jesmyn Ward’s recent memoir, Men We Reaped (2013), which I suggest powerfully exemplifies the futureless landscape of “Katrina time,” is that of a stationary—or directionless— car. New Orleans looms in the background of Ward’s text, which itself...

Part II: Katrina Time

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3. Documenting Katrina: The Return of the “Real”

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pp. 101-126

Wendy and Lucy (2008), directed by Kelly Reichardt, opens with the rusty clatter of the railways, visually and audibly alluding to the sense of anachronism that overshadows the narrative’s tentative glance toward the future.1 The sounds of trains creaking along their tracks follow the camera to a lone...

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4. Resisting Katrina: The Right to Return

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pp. 127-162

On January 15, 2007, Martin Luther King Day, residents of St. Bernard public housing project broke into their apartments in a symbolic and physical show of defiance against federal, state, and city authorities intent on denying their right to return home. This act of civil disobedience violated...

Part III: New Orleans Time

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5. New Orleans and Water: Remapping Ecologies of the Gulf South

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pp. 165-196

In an early sequence of Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006), a number of residents from New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward describe both hearing and feeling an explosion coming from the levee bordering the Industrial Canal.1 This would likely have been around 7.45 a.m...

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6. New Orleans and the Nation: Legacies from the Future

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pp. 197-224

Moira Crone’s character Malcolm de Lazarus is a “not yet,” a human being taught to disregard his past and rely on a “Trust” that will secure a constantly postponed and deeply uncertain future. He is positioned as an aspirant to the ascendant class of “Heirs,” who have been endowed with...

Notes

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pp. 225-254

Select Bibliography

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pp. 255-264

Index

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pp. 265-277