The Wind in the Reeds: A Storm, a Play, and the City That Would Not Be Broken (Hardcover)

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The Wind in the Reeds: A Storm, A Play and the City That Would Not Be Broken by Wendell Pierce. The spirit and unique identity of New Orleans is illuminated in Wendell Pierce’s The Wind in the Reeds. Through an exploration of his own family history, Pierce (Treme, The Wire, Selma) shows what it means to grow up with a very strong sense of family and community. Beginning with handed-down stores that trace back to his great-grandfather Aristile, a freed slave that was taken from his family, Pierce takes the reader on a tour of the culture and history of New Orleans, the birth of jazz, the heartbreaking loss due to Hurricane Katrina, and the importance of rebuilding the city in its established image. This deeply personal memoir shows the strength and never-give-up attitude held by so many African-American New Orleanians, and how the resilience of “Slavery, Poverty, Jim Crow, Segregation: Is that all you got?” turned into “Hurricanes, Floods, Exile, Crime, Corruption, Betrayal, Greed, Neglect: Is that all you got?” 

— From Michael's Picks


2016 Christopher Award Winner
From acclaimed actor and producer Wendell Pierce, an insightful and poignant portrait of family, New Orleans and the transforming power of art.

On the morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina barreled into New Orleans, devastating many of the city's neighborhoods, including Pontchartrain Park, the home of Wendell Pierce's family and the first African American middle-class subdivision in New Orleans. The hurricane breached many of the city's levees, and the resulting flooding submerged Pontchartrain Park under as much as 20 feet of water. Katrina left New Orleans later that day, but for the next three days the water kept relentlessly gushing into the city, plunging eighty percent of New Orleans under water. Nearly 1,500 people were killed. Half the houses in the city had four feet of water in them or more. There was no electricity or clean water in the city; looting and the breakdown of civil order soon followed. Tens of thousands of New Orleanians were stranded in the city, with no way out; many more evacuees were displaced, with no way back in.
Pierce and his family were some of the lucky ones: They survived and were able to ride out the storm at a relative's house 70 miles away. When they were finally allowed to return, they found their family home in tatters, their neighborhood decimated. Heartbroken but resilient, Pierce vowed to help rebuild, and not just his family's home, but all of Pontchartrain Park.
In this powerful and redemptive narrative, Pierce brings together the stories of his family, his city, and his history, why they are all worth saving and the critical importance art played in reuniting and revitalizing this unique American city.

About the Author

Wendell Pierce was born in New Orleans and is an actor and Tony Award-winning producer. He starred in all five seasons of the acclaimed HBO drama The Wire and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for the role. He also starred in the HBO series Treme and has appeared in many feature films including Selma, Ray, Waiting to Exhale and Hackers. Since Hurricane Katrina, Pierce has been helping to rebuild the flood-ravaged Pontchartrain Park neighborhood in New Orleans. Rod Dreher has been a writer, columnist and critic for a variety of publications, including National Review, The Wall Street Journal, and the Dallas Morning News. He is the author of Crunchy Cons and The Little Way of Ruthie Leming.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9781594633232
ISBN-10: 1594633231
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publication Date: September 8th, 2015
Pages: 352
Language: English