Where We Know: New Orleans As Home
4 out of 5: This anthology, edited by David Rutledge and titled Where We Know: New Orleans as Home, collects essays and two short stories about the city of New Orleans. Most essays are contemporary and focus on the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, but a handful are historical, including essays by Barbara Bodichon and Dudley Warner, first published in 1867 and 1887, respectively.
As New Orleans rebuilds after Hurricane Katrina, some stay in the city, some return to the city, and some decide to leave the city forever. Where We Know captures all these various voices and reveals the diverse emotions surrounding this culturally complex American city. Essayist Anne Gisleson notes about post-Katrina New Orleans that “the city is alive in a new sort of way … [with] a sense of hope, opportunity and purpose I never felt growing up here.”
As I’ve come to expect from Chin Music Press, Where We Know is gorgeously designed. The book’s front and end papers reproduce full-color sections of old maps of New Orleans. Quotes about the city from its famous citizens and visitors—dating from 1721 to 2009—are interspersed throughout. A map in the front of the book pinpoints the exact locations in the city that form the settings of the book’s essays and stories, and a few essays are even accompanied by color photographs. Thanks to this thoughtful design, Where We Know is as rewarding to look at and to hold as it is to read.