Ten years after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana, journalist Gary Rivlin traces the storms immediate damage, the city of New Orleanss efforts to rebuild itself, and the storms lasting effects not just on the citys geography and infrastructurebut on the psychic, racial, and social fabric of one of this nations great cities. Much of New Orleans still sat under water the first time Gary Rivlin glimpsed the city after Hurricane Katrina. Then a staff reporter for the New York Times, he was heading into the city to survey the damage. The Interstate was eerily empty. Soldiers in uniform and armed with assault rifles stopped him. Water reached the eaves of houses for as far as the eye could see. Four out of every five houses80 percent of the citys housing stockhad been flooded. Around that same proportion of schools and businesses were wrecked. The weight of all that water on the streets cracked gas and water and sewer pipes all around town, and the deluge had drowned almost every power substation and rendered unusable most of the citys water and sewer system. People living in flooded areas of the city could not be expected to pay their property taxes for the foreseeable future. Nor would all those boarded-up businesses21,000 of the citys 22,000 businesses were still shuttered six months after the stormbe contributing their share of sales taxes and other fees to the citys coffers. Six weeks after the storm, the city laid off half its workforceprecisely when so many people were turning to its government for help. Meanwhile, cynics both in and out of the Beltway were questioning the use of taxpayer dollars to rebuild a city that sat mostly below sea level. How could the city possibly come back? This book traces the stories of New Orleanians of all stripespoliticians and business owners, teachers and bus drivers, poor and wealthy, black and whiteas they confront the aftermath of one of the great tragedies of our age and reconstruct, change, and in some cases abandon a city thats the soul of this nation.