Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six

Floodlines is a firsthand account of community, culture, and resistance in New Orleans. The book weaves together the stories of gay rappers, Mardi Gras Indians, Arab and Latino immigrants, public housing residents, and grassroots activists in the years before and after Katrina. From post-Katrina evacuee camps to torture testimony at Angola Prison to organizing with the family members of the Jena Six, Floodlines tells the stories behind the headlines from an unforgettable time and place in history.

About the author

Jordan Flaherty is a writer and community organizer based in New Orleans. In addition to his award-winning post-Katrina journalism, he was the first journalist with a national audience to write about the Jena Six case and played an important role in bringing the story to the attention of the world. He has produced news segments for Al-Jazeera, TeleSur, and Democracy Now! and appeared as a guest on a wide range of television and radio shows, including CNN's American Morning, Anderson Cooper 360, CNN Headline News, GRITtv, Keep Hope Alive with Reverend Jesse Jackson, and both local and nationally syndicated shows on National Public Radio.


“As the floodwaters rose in New Orleans, Jordan Flaherty began to write, rescuing precious truths about the reality of racism and solidarity in his city that risked being washed away in the tide of formulaic corporate journalism. I can think of no journalist that writes with deeper knowledge or more love about this highly contested part of the United States. With a new flood threatening life on the Gulf Coast—this time made of oil, not water, but powered, as always, by greed and neglect—these remarkable stories of injustice and resistance must be heard.”
—Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine

“This is the most important book I’ve read about Katrina and what came after. In the tradition of Howard Zinn this could be called The People’s History of the Storm. Jordan Flaherty was there on the front lines. He compellingly documents the racism, poverty, and neglect at the core of this national failure and the brave, generous, grassroots revolutionaries who saved and continue to save a city and a people. It is my favorite kind of book—great storytelling, accurate accounting, a call for engagement and change.”
—Eve Ensler, playwright, author of The Vagina Monologues, activist, and founder of V-Day

“Here’s the missing news from the Crescent City: folks are fighting back. Indeed, as Flaherty reminds us in this remarkable and noble book, the very soul of New Orleans is struggle. As southern Louisiana again faces a man-made catastrophe, his portraits of activism and hope could not be more timely.”
—Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums

“Floodlines is a powerful, moving account of one organizer’s witnessing of the struggles in the Deep South, and fighting to make a difference. Jordan masters the insider’s voice, capturing the real fight from within the heart of the movement.”
—Jennifer Vitry, Executive Director, NOLA Investigates

“Jordan Flaherty’s work has been indispensable for social justice activists and organizations around the country who care about the inequities and social injustices that Hurricane Katrina revealed and exacerbated. He brings the sharp analysis and dedication of a seasoned organizer to his writing, and insightful observation to his reporting. Jordan unfailingly has his ear to the ground in a city that continues to reveal the floodlines of structural racism in America.”
—Tram Nguyen, author of We Are All Suspects Now: Untold Stories from Immigrant Communities after 9/11

“Jordan Flaherty is a journalist who causes revolution with the printed word. This book is a testament to the power of the pen when it’s in the hand of a freedom fighter and a global thinker. While others are just writing these stories, Jordan Flaherty is living them.”
—Jesse Muhammad, Final Call Newspaper

"Flaherty has been reporting from the ground since the beginning of Katrina's "end" -- to spread the word that it hasn't ended for low-income black Americans. He's paid his dues and then some in the struggle to ensure that all people have the right to recover, not just those with means. This is evident from the endorsements that Flaherty's book is tagged with, from activist Rosa Clemente to The Final Call journalist Jesse Muhammad. His efforts are also evident in the pages documenting the voices of everyday citizens, rank-and-file activists and impassioned advocates. Flaherty is not another author looking to make sense of what went wrong. He's here to declare the inconvenient truth that what went wrong didn't make sense -- and wasn't making sense long before Katrina."
The Root