Super Bowl Sunday, Dart Resources, Post-Katrina books

People hungry for Super Bowl Sunday reading should check out Neal Thompson's Hurricane Season.

As everyone in America who has not been a recluse the past 13 days knows, tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday.

The match up has the makings of a classic, even as the games have all too often ended up as overhyped blowouts that leaves companies that paid more than $2.5 million per slot frantically hoping viewers don’t start channel surfing.

Personally, I’m rooting for the Saints to topple the Colts and win their first Super Bowl in the franchise’s 43-year history.

Already profound, the meaning the team has had for the town and Gulf region has only deepened since Aug. 28, 2005, the day that New Orleans life changed permanently due to the wreckage and devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The Dart Society, on whose board I am proud to serve, has strong ties to New Orleans.

Photographer and 2009 photographer John McCusker was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team that documented life after the hurricane.

The work and the dislocation took its toll, and McCusker had an episode that some called “suicide by cop.”

Fellow Board Member Mike Walter tells the story of McCusker’s recovery and the Society’s effort to contribute to rebuilding the region in Breaking News, Breaking Down, a documentary film that has been shown worldwide and garnered multiple prizes.

Natalie Pompilio, a Dart Fellow in 2001 who eventually moved back to New Orleans for several years after the hurricane, also appears in Walter’s film.

There were a host of books written about New Orleans, many of which appeared just around the year anniversary.

Those looking for a football-oriented book to match tomorrow should think about checking out Neal Thompson’s Hurricane Season, a book that tells the story of the team at the John Curtis Christian School.  A comparatively diverse private school, John Curtis’ team is lead by J.T. Curtis, son of the school’s founder and one of the winningest high school football coaches in the country.

His entire family is involved with the team, and the commitment only intensifies in Katrina’s aftermath.  Thompson writes with insight and emotion about the team’s struggle to come together as a team after the hurricane while also dealing with unimaginable loss.

Those looking for a more panoptic look at Katrina should check out Jed Horne’s Breach of Faith.  A Times-Picayune metro editor, Horne brings outrage to this meticulously reported and deeply felt account of the massively bungled response to the catastrophe.  The strength of this book lies in Horne’s portraits of people like Ivor van Heerden, a climatologist who openly criticized the Bush Administration’s response.


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