August 22, 2012 5:45 AM
Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death and Life in New Orleans by Dan Baum is this year’s Reading Project book for all entering first-year students at Tulane University. After Baum was assigned to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina for The New Yorker, he decided to focus on the people of the city as opposed to the disaster. We caught up with Baum to ask him about the nine personal stories in the book.
I’d been told not even to try to approach Billy Grace’s class — the “confederate gentry” of the uptown Mardi Gras krewes — but when I dropped my business card through Billy’s mail slot, he called me the same day and invited me over to drink and eat in his generator-lit house with some friends.
Tim Bruneau I met while hanging out at Sixth District police headquarters.Ronald Lewis I went looking for because he was the go-to guy for the Lower Ninth Ward. Frank Minyard [the coroner] was a natural.
Then I specifically wanted a high school band director, which led me to Wilbert, and he led me to Belinda.
I wanted to write about the Mardi Gras Indians, but I was also short of women characters, so that led me to Joyce [Montana].Q: Which of the storylines, if any, was your favorite? Why?
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