Books: A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge

Josh Neufeld’s Crumb-like re-creation of post-Katrina New Orleanian lives stands out for its personal touch.

Among the many Katrina-themed books that have emerged in the four years since the hurricane, this character-driven graphic novel stands out for its personal touch. Neufeld weaves together the stories of a diverse bunch of real-life New Orleanians: A convenience store owner spends a bug-infested night on the roof of his flooded market, an African American family endures chaos at the convention center, a doctor keeps the horror at arm’s length from his French Quarter digs, and an artsy young couple flee to Houston and come back to find they’ve lost everything, including a treasured comic book collection. A.D. avoids politics; its real power is in its images of waterlogged cityscapes and its characters’ expressively rendered faces, streaming with sweat and contorted in anguish. In Crumb-like detail, Neufeld convincingly re-creates his protagonists’ ordeals—and their halting recovery. As one tells the cartoonist, “We’re not all home yet.”