With Hurricane Irene still a fresh and costly memory for parts of the east coast, and Tropical Storm Lee recently hitting the Gulf Coast, it seems like a perfect time to revisit this excellent graphic novel by comics journalist Josh Neufeld, A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge (published by Pantheon Books).
Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst storms this country has ever faced and much of the aftermath was felt in the city of New Orleans. Neufeld used comics to recount the experiences of five people who made it through the 2005 storm. The material was originally serialized in a slightly different form as a webcomic on SMITH Magazine‘s website in 2007 and 2008.
As you might expect, A.D. can be a tough read since it’s not exactly a feel-good romantic comedy. But Neufeld’s art style and use of colors, as well as his choices in when his narrative checks back in with each character, make it easier to take in. The book could’ve been much more brutal in depicting the nightmare that happened during and especially after Katrina. Instead it wisely focuses on the human experience, trying to neither sugar coat nor sensationalize.
While the hard cover appears to be out-of-print right now, the book is also recommended for high school and college courses. The publisher has a teacher’s guide available (thank you for the updated link, Josh). You can also find an excerpt of the teacher’s guide at GraphicNovelReporter.com.
For a glimpse at the making of the book, check out this segment from the discontinued Pulp Secret show: