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Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death, and Life…
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Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death, and Life in New Orleans (edition 2010)

by Dan Baum (Author)

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3892751,095 (4.12)53
"Nine Lives" explores New Orleans through the lives of nine characters over 40 years, bracketed by two epic hurricanes. It brings back to life the doomed city, its wondrous subcultures, and the rich and colorful lives that played themselves out within its borders.
Member:ChrisKourim
Title:Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death, and Life in New Orleans
Authors:Dan Baum (Author)
Info:Spiegel & Grau (2010), Edition: Reprint, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
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Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans by Dan Baum

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» See also 53 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
I liked this a lot. It reminded me, oddly, of George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones series, in the way that the author uses various shifting perspectives to describe the culture and mores of modern-day New Orleans. As with Martin's books, the technique can be confusing at first, and I was probably halfway through the book before I felt totally comfortable with who everyone was. The book was riveting, and the many short chapters made it hard to put down; you always think there is time to read just one more.

My only quibble is that I wish more women had been included: only three women (one of them transgendered) among the nine perspectives. That was a little disappointing to me, and I wish Baum had found a way to incorporate more female voices. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
This nonfiction book was slow going at first, but after a while I was completely pulled in. It tells the story of nine different people in New Orleans over the course of many decades and it culminates with Hurricane Katrina. Their stories are wildly different, a cop, young black girl, and Indian, a transgender person, a local politician, but all of them are part of the city in one way or another. It reminds me so much of Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil. I loved the detailed descriptions of their worlds and the writing brought the city of New Orleans alive for me. Each of them sees their city in a different way. Those points of view painted a fuller picture of the iconic location. It's a perfect book to read before visiting!

The Nine: Ronald Lewis, Billy Grace, Belinda Jenkins, Wilbert Rawlins Jr., Frank Minyard, Joyce Montana, John / Joann Guidos, Anthony Wells , and Tim Bruneau ( )
  bookworm12 | Mar 21, 2018 |
I liked this a lot. It reminded me, oddly, of George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones series, in the way that the author uses various shifting perspectives to describe the culture and mores of modern-day New Orleans. As with Martin's books, the technique can be confusing at first, and I was probably halfway through the book before I felt totally comfortable with who everyone was. The book was riveting, and the many short chapters made it hard to put down; you always think there is time to read just one more.

My only quibble is that I wish more women had been included: only three women (one of them transgendered) among the nine perspectives. That was a little disappointing to me, and I wish Baum had found a way to incorporate more female voices. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
This nonfiction book about New Orleans and Katrina explores the subject through the view points of nine New Orleanians. It depicts their lives from Hurricane Betsy in 1965 through Katrina. Among the individuals with whom we become intimate: a streetcar track repairman, the transvestite owner of a bar and his ex-wife, a former Rex, King of Carnival, the wife of the most well-known Mardi Gras Indian, a cop, the New Orleans coronor, the bandmaster of one of New Orleans public schools famous marching bands, a criminal, a 9th ward woman seeking to better herself. Nine Lives does what City of Refuge did not do: it conveys what life was like in New Orleans pre-Katrina--how unique and varied it was, and why so many people would not live anywhere else in the world. For this it is well-worth the read.

I was particularly taken with some of the events disclosed by Frank Minyard the New Orleans coronor. He details the days of waiting in the makeshift morgue for the bodies of victims to be delivered. First the 82nd airborne volunteered to retrieve the bodies, but was denied authorization to do so by higher-ups. Then the National Guard volunteered. Same thing. Then the Louisiana State Patrol. Same story. When a representative of SCI, the largest funeral home operation in America, showed up, Minyard finally got it: 'Let me see if I've got this straight. Dead people rot on the streets of New Orleans for a week and a half so the feds can sign a private contract?' Minyard also refused to let officials take the easy way out and list the cause of death as 'drowning,' as the deaths were initially classified. 'A lot of these people died from heat exhaustion, dehydration, stress, from being without their medications--from neglect basically. They were abandoned out there.'

Nine Lives is skillfully written--no long lists here. While, as in the case of Minyard, each of the individuals discusses their Katrina experiences, Katrina and its aftermath is not the focus of this book. It is a deft exploration of why New Orleans matters. ( )
  arubabookwoman | Feb 24, 2016 |
This was an excellent study of the unique city of New Orleans. Nine very different individuals were the focus and all recounted life before Katrina (most decades before it), during the storm, and soon afterwards. Their love of their city regardless of their economic/social standing shone through.
The presentation of this book is similar to John Berendt's Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil and Studs Terkel's Working and The Good War. ( )
  nljacobs | Jan 19, 2016 |
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"Nine Lives" explores New Orleans through the lives of nine characters over 40 years, bracketed by two epic hurricanes. It brings back to life the doomed city, its wondrous subcultures, and the rich and colorful lives that played themselves out within its borders.

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