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5 New Orleans books to read for Mardi Gras

Grab a slice of king cake, pour a mug of chicory coffee, and settle in with these NOLA-themed reads.

Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans

It’s impossible to understand any modern city without understanding its past, and for New Orleans, that includes a long and difficult relationship with hurricanes. Tasked with writing about the post-Katrina recovery efforts for The New Yorker, Baum arrived two days after the levees broke. His experiences in the city ultimately led to Nine Lives, a multi-voiced biography that is bookended with both Hurricane Katrina and the 1960s storm Hurricane Betsy. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly writes: “Baum, an empathetic storyteller, has nearly perfectly distilled the events, providing readers with a sensuous portrait of a place that can be better understood as the best organized city in the Caribbean rather than the worst organized city in the United States.”

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