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“Ned Sublette is a literary Spirit Master, and The Year Before the Flood is his most personal and astounding work, full of mad knowledge and unorthodox insights about race, crime, history, politics, music, and all the other ingredients that flavor the righteous roux that is New Orleans.” —T. J. English, author of Havana Nocturne
Ned Sublette traces an arc of his own experience, from the white supremacy of segregated 1950s Louisiana through the funky year of 2004–2005. By turns irreverent, joyous, darkly comic, passionate, and polemical, he juxtaposes the city’s crowded calendar of parties, festivals, and parades with the murderousness of its poverty and its legacy of racism. With a grand cast of musicians and barkeeps, scholars and thugs, vibrating with the sheer excitement of New Orleans, The Year Before the Flood is an affirmation of the power of the city’s culture and a heartbreaking tale of loss.