Dan Baum’s book has received some positive reviews, and sounds appealing. He admits to being a “partisan” of New Orleans, but note that even he knows that New Orleans’ problems are primarily due to the people and institutions of New Orleans, and not primarily due to the weather or to George W. Bush.
Widely celebrated as one of those outsiders who gets New Orleans, the writer Dan Baum appeared at Octavia Books Tuesday night and found himself having to account for disparaging remarks he’d made about the city days before.
The crowd was at the bookstore to celebrate Baum’s book, “Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans,” a book drawing lots of attention for its compassionate portrayal of New Orleans through the lives of nine residents chosen by the author.
But before much could be said about the book, Baum was asked about an interview that had been broadcast on NPR Marketplace. He had said so many good things about the city that host Kai Ryssdal asked him, “Do you worry that maybe you’ve been too captivated by New Orleans to see the destruction?”
Baum answered, “I’m a partisan. I’ll admit it. I love the city. People ask me, ‘What’s going to happen to New Orleans?’ And I say, look, you know I think that in 10 or 15 years New Orleans will be the disorganized, impoverished, violent, screwed up, corrupt city it was before the storm and that’s really the way they want it.”