Author: Lynette Norris Wilkinson
Publisher: Write Creations
ISBN: 978-0-9706292-1-0

Click Here To Purchase UNTOLD: The New Orleans 9th Ward You Never Knew

In this personal account of 16 people who lived in the same neighborhood as the author, Lynette Norris Wilkinson, did growing up—the lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, below the Industrial Canal—Wilkinson shares with us the memories of many of her friends, former classmates, and church members regarding the time that Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. She is rightfully proud of these people, and not just because they all had to cope with the devastation wrought by the hurricane, but of how they survived the ordeal. Facing the pitiless wrath of a climatic force beyond their control, rather than succumbing to a swath of misery that could easily have swept them under, they were all, instead, buoyed up by their faith in God and in each other, which enabled them to survive this earth-shattering event. Prior to the unforeseen calamity that cut to the very core of their urban existence, they were “hard-working, family-oriented people, who owned their homes, had a sense of community, and were contributing members of society.” Hurricane Katrina served only to test their mettle, and most definitely not to dent it.

Starting out with a brief overview of the area, with which she was provided by local historian Mary White, Wilkinson shows how, despite undergoing some decline, it was, nevertheless, held together in spirit by the strong moral grounding of the local residents in “faith, family, and community.” In the pages
that follow we are introduced to a wide range of such individuals, all of whom have their version to tell of the time that nature ruled supreme and people suffered. Told as individual accounts of personal stoicism in the face of unbeatable odds, each story, recounted in the first person, shows how those concerned rose to meet the occasion, and through sheer guts and determination, aided by their unquenchable faith, managed to ride out the storm that threatened to subdue them forever.

Ranging from young to old, the men and women whose stories fill these pages can be seen to be shining examples of all that is best in the American character. The individual emotions ring out true and firm, telling not only of the fear and agony undergone by each of the families impacted by the hurricane, but also of their efforts to restore stability to their lives in the wake of the disaster. Each story is accompanied by at least one full-page black-and-white shot of a scene, once familiar to the person whose oral history, transposed into print, follows, but which, in the photo, is seen as reduced to a mass of tangled wire, caved-in wall and shattered brick, mortar and glass. Many of the stories are also preceded by a close-up of the survivor themselves, so that the reader is encouraged to relate on a personal level to those about whom they read.

With unprecedented climatic conditions causing so much devastation worldwide, one stands the chance of being overwhelmed and of becoming resistant to the individual misery caused to countless sufferers. However, Untold: The New Orleans 9th Ward You Never Knew, by allowing us to put a face on what all too often stands the danger of becoming just one more statistic in the barrage of grief that threatens to swamp the world, halts us in our tracks, and enables us to respond with empathy to those who have been so intimately involved with the crisis. As a story of survivors who have weathered the worst, Untold should go down in the annals of New Orleans history as one that is, indeed, very much told—and one in which the local inhabitants stand up close, personal and proud.

Click Here To Purchase UNTOLD: The New Orleans 9th Ward You Never Knew