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The New York Times sent Gary Rivlin to Baton Rouge and New Orleans, days after the storm, to cover Katrina as an outsider. Rivlin’s instincts had him looking forward “to the mess ahead. Eventually the flood waters would recede. How would New Orleans go about the complicated task of rebuilding?” This carefully researched, beautifully written book describes that process from then until now.
In the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina, an order circulated among New Orleans police authorizing officers to shoot looters. “We have authority by martial law to shoot looters,” Capt. James Scott told a few dozen officers. Warren Riley, then the department’s second-in-command, said to “take the city back and shoot looters.”