John’s recent posts on the miserable Katrina coverage brought to mind Waters Dark and Deep: One New Orleans Family’s Rescue Amid the Devastation of Hurricane Katrina by Newsday reporter Katie Thomas. (See also the book’s site here.) If you’re at all interested in the part of the story most reporters missed — that is, how lots of people came together to help those in urgent need (one of the protagonists of this story is a National Guardsman from Texas) — then you’ll find this a gripping book.
Compared to the mass of hysterical, inept journalism that inundated the mainstream media in the days and months following Katrina, and that continues to this day, this book demonstrates that at least some reporters can get it right and simply report the story at hand. You won’t find any agenda being pushed in these pages.
Waters Dark and Deep tells the story of a group of small children, only one of whom was old enough to speak, who were rescued without their mothers from their apartment building rooftop in New Orleans — at the insistence of the pilot of the helicopter that picked them up.
It is a remarkable story about how strangers serving as Big Buddy volunteers, National Guardsmen, local police, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and ordinary people with no affiliation whatsover came together to help this group of children get reunited with their frantic mothers. It is the only book I know of that focuses on the human dimension of the Katrina tragedy.