I LOVE this book. Baum uses the stories of nine everyday New Orleans citizens to explain what's so fascinating about the city. He follows these people from the mid-1960s (right after Hurricane Betsy plowed thru New Orleans) to 2007 and Hurricane Katrina's aftermath. Each person comes from a different strata of New Orleans culture. The parish coroner, a high school band director, the drifter who came in from California are just some who get the chance to tell their story of New Orleans.
I find it interesting that by bookending the story between major hurricanes, Baum has put his finger on a problem with our society in general. After Betsy, folks started cleaning up immediately, they didn't wait for someone to come do it for them. After Katrina, even those who wanted to help were hampered by those who expected someone else to do things for them.
A highly recommended book.