Florence "Flo" Du Monde, a formerly failed novelist returns home to New Orleans amid unexpected success with her new novel, LEVEES, based very loosely on her life, her city, and her family there. While there for a week to be honored for her book, she confronts the pains of a dysfunctional family, a history of dark, hidden events, and a sister with whom she has had a painful and antagonistic relationship her whole life. Amid the continued bitterness of the sisters, her sick father has a heart attack, and is left hanging on for his life, while the flood waters of Katrina surround the hospital he is in. Lingering love and attachment to the black maid who really raised her, and a new love she encounters while there provoke strong old and new feelings within her. But the arrival of Hurricane Katrina while she is there puts everything at risk, including her life and those around her. As the city is destroyed by the hurricane, her family and life are almost destroyed also, but are pulled back from the abyss through bravery, love, and eventual reconciliation.
August in New Orleans depicts both real and fictitious dramatic events surrounding the actual devastation caused from Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent collapse of the levees, flooding the entire city. The story integrates actual and speculative news coverage, clips from radio and television programs, and edited transcripts of actual historical events before, during, and following the storm into the fictional story that surround them. In addition, the story from her novel, LEVEES, ironically parallels in its fictitious story, some of the same elements that become part of the real story of Hurricane Katrina.
August in New Orleans tells the story of one family caught in the crosshairs of their own tumultuous emotional conflicts, and brought to a head in the time surrounding the arrival and devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. Their story is but one of thousands affected by the brutal assault on the city and the area. But it is one through which the physical and mythical effects of this natural phenomenon can be viewed with sympathy and pathos.
August in New Orleans also weaves in history about the city itself, a delightful, but fragile cultural wonderland dangling precariously in the water and swamp that surrounds it, tempting fate while celebrating the unique life it offers. Founded almost 200 years earlier as a commercial port and waterway by the French, it has evolved into one of the most culturally celebrated cities in the world, still retaining its European style and character. These historical vignettes give background to some of the factors involved in the tragic story of Hurricane Katrina.
August in New Orleans is a story of love and redemption: love of family, love of place, love of history, and a passionate and unexpected love for a mystery man she meets while there, a handsome younger man who will play an important role in her future, a role she only discovers near the end of the story All this comes together amid the cataclysmic events of Hurricane Katrina, and its aftermath.