A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge
Book: Josh Neufeld. A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge. New York: Pantheon Books, 2009. http://www.joshneufeld.com/
Genre: Nonfiction Comic
Audience: 6th-12th grade
Josh Neufeld depicts the stories of five different people’s lives and how they were affected by Hurricane Katrina. This story begins in the days foreshadowing the storm. It follows the characters and describes their attitudes and decisions that they made before the storm hit. A.D. After the Deluge, shows those who have never experienced a natural disaster the financial, physical, and emotional challenges the citizens of New Orleans had to overcome to survive this disaster. Neufeld’s illustrations and creative story telling elements flow seamlessly and allow the reader to experience Hurricane Katrina in a way they never have before.
One of the major themes in this novel is Diaspora. There is a major movement of people who have no place to return home to. They are forced to leave and all of their belongings and remains were destroyed. Thousands of people were displaced and forced to relocate to others areas until their homes were deemed safe or they could be rebuilt. Diaspora is also a chapter in the book and it draws a very dramatic picture of the feelings people felt when everything they knew no longer existed. These people are forced to restructure their lives and find the financial means to do so. Many were left stranded with no one to help them.
Another theme in A.D. After the Deluge, is failure to respond, people of New Orleans were left stranded with no one to help them escape this cruel reality. Thousands of citizens were left in overcrowded public areas with no food, shelter, or water. They were given no relief and only those who were financially secure or had family able to keep them were able to leave the area. The appropriate steps were not taken to ensure that the people of New Orleans had a place to go. They were simply told to evacuate but were not given a safe haven to go to. This lead to a lot of mistrust and aggravation towards the government, many people felt that they were simple forgotten.
Josh Neufeld does a great job telling the story historically and incorporating the events of those who experienced the hurricane. This graphic novel displays many different elements that together create an amazing story. The usage of color, titles, page breaks, and text clouds create a strong emotional attachment to the characters and story. Neufeld used both text and illustrations to show the important factors that make this story so moving. He displays the characters iconically to represent their stories so that they can relate to many people who may have been in their shoes. I would use this novel to show students the importance of how characters are represented and what these representations mean to the audience. So many ideas and thoughts are shown in nontraditional ways and these elements can be used effectively in many different types of writing. Teaching students how to incorporate some of the elements that Neufeld used into their own works will be very beneficial to them in their future writings.
Another issue this novel brings to life is the dependability of news reporting. It shows that all reporting is not accurate and may not show every side of the story. This story can be used to show the reliability of a narrator of any story and how to evaluate the narrator.
I was extremely surprised at the reality that so many citizens of New Orleans were faced with. This novel made me aware of the horrible circumstances and situations that people had to deal with after the hurricane. There is a specific section in the novel that showed the restrooms and how the plumbing no longer worked so they were forced to continue to use the facilities that became overcome with filch and bugs. This depiction showed the true devastation that the people of New Orleans who did not have the means to escape the ruins had to endure. It really brought to life the truth of what really happened. I am an avid viewer of MSNBC and CNN and this side of the story was not documented or covered by news stations. It showed me the importance of being well informed and showed that sometimes news channels can not be depended on for my only point of view. That to be an informed citizen I will have to go digging for more accurate and detailed information.
A.D. After the Deluge, has received many great reviews. Critics find this novel to be remarkably touching and explore a side of the story that many never see. Graphic Novel Reviews says, “The story doesn’t get political; it doesn’t get accusational. It doesn’t pander to the reader; it doesn’t portray anyone as a helpless victim. Here are five people; here’s how they deal with the worst natural disaster they’ve ever experienced. They made their choices and live with the consequences.” Neufeld’s choice to show a new aspect to Hurricane Katrina is appreciated those who read his novel. Graphic Novel Review » Sean Kleefeld on “A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge” The Daily Cross Hat also commented, “Neufeld vindicates the survivors when he tells their stories, but in the end, they live with those stories every day—they don’t need reminding. We do.” The Daily Cross Hatch » Blog Archive » A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld The public appreciates the ability that Neufeld has to tell a story so un-biasedly and display the true story of individuals who were forced to make the toughest decisions of their lives. p://thedailycrosshatch.com/2009/09/28/ad-new-orleans-after-the-deluge-by-josh-neufeld/