In the aftermath of 2005's Hurricane Katrina, cartoonist Josh Neufeld (American Splendor) was compelled to document the stories of survivors in the way he knew best: through comics.
Now, 10 years after the storm and the publication of his nonfiction graphic novel A.D.: New Orleans After The Deluge, Neufeld has penned a sequel that follows up with some of the survivors he portrayed and the stories they told, published at Fusion.net on Aug. 28.
Titled "Where are they now? Revisiting 4 Katrina survivors 10 years later," the diverse subjects featured in the sequel include:
|• Hamid Mohammadi, a business owner who survived the floods brought on by the storm on top of a tool shed with his best friend, Mansell, while trying to save his store
• Dr. Bronson Lutz, who set up a street clinic in the hurricane's aftermath
• Kwame Webster, a then-high school student who evacuated with his family and watched the disaster unfold on national television
• Leo McGovern, a comics collector who lost his entire, extensive archive in the storm, along with everything else he and his girlfriend owned
• Denise Moore, a social worker who found herself abandoned with her family in the New Orleans Convention Center after her building was destroyed
Most notably, Moore was the centrifugal force of A.D.: New Orleans, but declined to participate in the follow-up to the graphic novel "after a decade of ups and downs," according to Neufeld.
Originally serialized in SMITH Magazine and a New York Times bestseller, A.D.: New Orleans was highly lauded when it was published – The Los Angeles Times called it "a work ... of literature, of high art, and of reverence for nature and humanity" – and excerpts were anthologized in Best American Comics 2010.
Neufeld's sequel not only catches up with events in the subject's lives post-Katrina, but also excavates their thoughts and feelings on how the hurricane affected them both emotionally and psychologically, and how it has altered or strengthened their connection with what it means to be from the Big Easy.
The poignant, concluding moment comes from Webster, now the managing director for Teach for America in Western Massachusetts and father of a sixteen-month-old toddler. When asked what it means to be from New Orleans, he answers, "Being from New Orleans is something I've always been aware of. I couldn't change it if I want to – and I wouldn't want to."
You can read the rest of Neufeld's comic here.