Like the bestselling Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas, this book is a brilliant reinvention of the traditional atlas, one that provides a vivid, complex look at the multi-faceted nature of New Orleans, a city replete with contradictions. More than twenty essays assemble a chorus of vibrant voices, including geographers, scholars of sugar and bananas, the city's remarkable musicians, prison activists, environmentalists, Arab and Native voices, and local experts, as well as the coauthors' compelling contributions. Featuring 22 full-color two-page-spread maps, Unfathomable City plumbs the depths of this major tourist destination, pivotal scene of American history and culture and, most recently, site of monumental disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. The innovative maps' precision and specificity shift our notions of the Mississippi, the Caribbean, Mardi Gras, jazz, soils and trees, generational roots, and many other subjects, and expand our ideas of how any city is imagined and experienced. Together with the inspired texts, they show New Orleans as both an imperiled city - by erosion, crime, corruption, and sea level rise - and an ageless city that lives in music as a form of cultural resistance. Compact, lively, and completely original, Unfathomable City takes readers on a tour that will forever change the way they think about place.
Introduction: Sinking In and Reaching Out Map 1. A City in Time: La Nouvelle-Orleans over 300 Years How New Orleans Happened, by Richard Campanella Map 2. Ebb and Flow: Migrations of the Houma, Erosions of the Coast Southward into Vanishing Lands, by Monique Verdin Map 3. Stationary Revelations: Sites of Contemplation and Delight On a Strange Island, by Billy Sothern Map 4. People Who Here They Come, There They Go, by Lolis Eric Elie Map 5. Moves, Remains: Hiding and Seeking the Dead Bodies, by Nathaniel Rich Map 6. Oil and Water: Extracting Petroleum, Exterminating Nature When They Set the Sea on Fire, by Antonia Juhasz Map 7. Of Levees and Prisons: Failures of Containment, Surges of Freedom Lockdown Louisiana, by Lydia Pelot-Hobbs Map 8. Civil Rights and Lemon Ice: Three Lives in the Old City The Presence of the Past, by Dana Logsdon and Dawn Logsdon Map 9. Sugar Heaven and Sugar Hell: Pleasures and Brutalities of a Commodity No Sweetness Is Light, by Shirley Elizabeth Thompson Map 10. !Bananas! Fruits' Fortunes at the Gate of the Tropics, by Joshua Jelly-Schapiro Map 11. Hot and Steamy: Selling Seafood, Selling Sex Salacious and Crustaceous, by Evan Casper-Futterman Map 12. The Mississippi Is (Not) the Nile: Arab New Orleans, Real and Imagined The Ibis-Headed God of New Orleans, by Khaled Hegazzi and Andy Young Map 13. The Line-Up: Live Oak Corridors and Carnival Parade Routes Sentinels and Celebrants, by Eve Abrams Map 14. Repercussions: Rhythm and Resistance across the Atlantic "It Enriches My Spirit to Be Linked to Such a Deep and Far-Reaching Piece of What This Universe Is": A Conversation with Herreast Harrison and Donald Harrison Jr. Map 15. Thirty-Nine Sundays: Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs Take It to the Streets Rollin' Wid It, by Joel Dinerstein Map 16. Bass Lines: Deep Sounds and Soils The Floating Cushion: George Porter Jr. on the City's Low End Map 17. Where Dey At: Bounce Calls Up a Vanished City A Home in Song, by Garnette Cadogan Map 18. Snakes and Ladders: What Rose Up, What Fell Down During Hurricane Katrina Nothing Was Foreordained, by Rebecca Solnit Map 19. St. Claude Avenue: Loss and Recovery on an Inner-City Artery The Beginning of This Road, by Maurice Carlos Ruffin Map 20. Juju and Cuckoo: Taking Care of Crazy Holding It Together, Falling Apart, by Rebecca Snedeker Map 21 . Lead and Lies: Mouths Full of Poison Charting the Territories of Untruth, by Rebecca Solnit Map 22. Waterland The Cement Lily Pad, by Rebecca Snedeker Acknowledgments Contributors