Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the levees failed, and soon an epic American city was emptied of practically all its people. Almost immediately, however, die-hard New Orleanians began a homeward journey. They found once vibrant neighborhoods reduced to shattered, blacked-out shells, but some made a stand and planted the seeds of rebirth amid the wreckage.
Author and New Orleans journalist, Ian McNulty offers an intimate account of that homecoming and the battle between hope and despair in a surreal landscape. McNulty moved back to his wrecked New Orleans house soon after the floodwaters drained, living on the second floor and writing this book on a laptop by candlelight. By turns haunting, inspiring, and darkly comic, this memoir offers a behind-the-headlines story of resilience and renewal for a neighborhood and a city. From bittersweet camaraderie in the ruined streets to the first flickers of cultural revival and the explosive joy of a post-Katrina Mardi Gras, A Season of Night delivers an unprecedented tale from the wounded but always enthralling Crescent City.
Ian McNulty is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Gambit Weekly and New Orleans Magazine. He is the author of Hungry? Thirsty? New Orleans, a guidebook to restaurants and bars.
“Hold the phone. This isn’t just another Katrina book to add to the stacks. A Season of Night is more of a love story than the retelling of a beaten town. The story begins with infatuation that becomes deep love and ultimately turns to despair. McNulty is a gifted writer, never overwrought or dramatic as in many Katrina memoirs. He writes with maturity, insight, and in gorgeous color both of the devastation and of a city regaining its charm in ragged spurts. I read this wonderful book in one sitting, laughing at the funny gems and nodding along to its accuracy. For anyone who loves New Orleans: pour yourself a tall Abita—maybe several—and do the same.”
— Ace Atkins, author of White Shadow and Wicked City
Though it reads like post-apocalyptic fiction—a city cast in pitch-black darkness every night, a man on a bicycle chased by a pack of starving dogs turned feral, a party in an unheated house lit only by candles at which guests smash a car parked at the curb with debris from rotting houses—Ian McNulty’s “A Season of Night: New Orleans Life after Katrina” is actually a deeply moving elegy to a house, a neighborhood, and a city in ruins after the collapse of its levees.
—John Biguenet, author of Oyster and Rising Water
Read an Interview with Ian