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posted Thursday, August 28th, 2008   leave a comment or trackback
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74 Responses

  1. Melissa Bastian

    Three years later, it’s still surreal. Tomorrow is going to be a hard day.

    Thanks Josh for putting this out into the world. Thank you to everyone whose story is told here. I’ll be keeping a watchful eye on Gustav this weekend, and if it does keep New Orleans as its target we can only hope that Katrina taught us something about helping people evacuate before it’s too late.

  2. josh

    Melissa, Kudos for being the very first poster! Seriously, thanks so much for your thoughtful response(s) to “A.D.”, both here and your blog. Wish I could’ve made your reading, but I’m sure we’ll meet up in the future. My thoughts will be with you and all the other Katrina survivors tomorrow; and of course I hope Gustav dissipates—or at least turns away from NOLA.

  3. Dean Haspiel

    A stunning, sobering, respectful piece of profound work. I am proud of you, Josh, and everybody involved—for crystalizing and sharing the true horror of such a catastrophic event into something I could begin to behold—even if it’s a piece of history that should never have played out the way it did. May we all learn to handle stuff like this with better intelligence, heart, and grace.

  4. josh

    Thanks, Dino. Your own creativity and dedication to craft are my inspiration, ol’ buddy.

  5. Kindra

    Wow, just wow. I can’t believe there was a “The End.”

    Be sure to put an announcement up when the graphic novel is available to buy.

  6. martha rosler

    Thanks for taking us on this long long journey with these folks. For all of us who could only watch in pain and rage and horror from the sidelines, you made it real— powerfully, stylishly, respectfully. Their journey is still nowhere near over— there is still no peace or justice in New Orleans, and high water has been replaced by Blackwater.
    I look forward to the return of the real New Orleans and also to your published page.

  7. Simon Fraser

    A remarkable and humane piece of work. One of those things that makes me proud to be in Comics. Thank you.

  8. Randy Lander

    This was amazing, Josh. Amazing and heartbreaking, and reminds me of all the anger and frustration and helplessness I felt watching Katrina happen.

    Can’t wait to buy the graphic novel.

  9. Fr.Tom

    Thanks. What a good story. This helps the many of us who did not suffer with you.

  10. Tristan Jones

    great, great work. impressed as always. by any chance, that school you drew in Ohio — that wouldn’t be Oberlin College by any chance, would it?

  11. josh

    Good catch there, Tristan!

    — Josh Neufeld OC’89

  12. Anne

    Dear Josh,
    I spoke with Barbara who now lives in Covington, north of Lake Ponchartrain. She can’t believe she’s packing and preparing for another hurricane on the 3rd anniversary. She laughed a little through crying, saying, “At least I don’t have much to pack after losing everything in Bay St. Louis.”
    Thank you so much for spending so much time and work and art into A.D.
    See you soon,
    Anne

  13. Jake N.

    I think that A.D. is in fact a superhero comic. The 6 people (plus the thousands of others) who survived, left and returned to a destroyed home have fought more powerful demons than any DC or Marvel masked avenger.

    It is impossible for any of us to know how we will act in, or react to a catastrophe like Katrina. I hope that the people of A.D. know more about themselves than they did before; and I hope that whatever part of Denise that was washed away by the flood has been at least partly replaced by the Denise that was able to emerge alive and strong.

    Hopefully, A.D. will become a book that is burned onto the literary consciousness much like MAUS is. True life accounts like this have a unique ability to teach, and maybe the best thing that can out of any disaster is the “teachable moment.” Everyone who was unaffected (physically) by Katrina should take the stories to heart and make sure that we are all prepared for future disasters.

  14. Joel Orff

    What an amazing accomplishment, Josh! From the time and effort you put into going to the area to help (and your excellent reporting of that experience in ‘Katrina Came Calling’), to your sensitive and brilliant portrayal of these stories in the series, it’s been an incredible journey. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  15. Rachel

    Wow. This is really wonderful. Beautiful artwork (of course), and well crafted storytelling beginning to end!

    I also loved the audio snippet from Denise. She’s a powerful speaker and the opportunity A.D. has provided for readers to hear, respond to and interact with Denise is not only important but extraordinary!

  16. Dylan Foley

    The epilogue contains some truly devastating material, Josh. It brings back the horrible memories of how New Orleans suffered and how individuals had their lives ripped apart. I look forward to your graphic novel that the prestigious Pantheon Books will put out in 2009.

  17. wjcohen

    panels 6, 13, 14 - the emotions on the faces, those pages….to echo the others, pretty masterful.

    Am curious about how you are going to translate the web comic to the graphic novel (and then, fingers crossed, maybe a film!)

  18. Chris Stefano

    Wow! I would like to see the print version too…
    Great work Josh, a different perspective than what we saw on TV. You did a good job of humanizing the people presented to us as looters and losers. Could have been any one of us.

    All the best,

    Chris

  19. Nolan Teter

    Thank you for this deeply moving work. It makes it hard for me to breathe when I think of the cruelty with which Americans so often treat Americans. We should never forget how fragile polite society is. A couple of missed meals, a few days without power, no place to buy gas — and it all goes out the fuckin’ window. Katrina was just a storm. What happened and continues to happen in New Orleans and other Gulf communities is a human made holocaust. We are all to blame.

  20. Nicole

    Incredibly well done and touching!

  21. Phlau

    Can’t wait for the printed version! Nothing I’ve seen or read so far made me feel that close to what people must have lived and felt during and after Katrina. Congratulation on a very great job.

  22. Kate

    Josh,
    This work is quite an epic. And still we are left with an unfinished/open ending. Will you revisit your friends in a literary way again?
    I look forward to the book.
    Thank-you again for one of the best graphic works out here and a great, American view.
    Kate

  23. Janis

    Thank you for doing this I grew up about eight blocks from Jesuit and so many of the places from my childhood were wiped out of existence for good. I live in Georgia now and no one seems to understand. My parents were in Metairie when Katrina cane to call. They were in their early eighties then and Dad’s Alzheimer’s was early-mid. range then. It took all four of us kids ten days to extract them from their home by means of deception and coercion. Got them to Lafayette and then Atlanta. I have too much to say about Katrina and her aftermath to go on. Thank you, Janis Zeringue Campbell

    p.s. Zeringue is a good old cajun name and you might have fun looking it up

  24. josh

    Hey all, Just want everyone to know I’ve been reading all your comments, and that they mean a lot. I’m hard at work on the book version of A.D., and will let you know more as it goes along.

  25. Editor B

    After all this time I was sure I could make it through the final installment with dry eyes — but I couldn’t. Damn you for doing such a good job. Er, um, I mean bless you of course!

  26. rick

    Thank you for capturing the experience of the catastrophe. We’ve all seen the pictures. Most of us have opinions. Some of us have experienced abandoning our homes in the face of an approaching storm and wondered what we would find upon returning. Much as your protagonists, I was completely unprepared for the horror of being at ground zero that you were able to convey. It was a part of the story I don’t think I would have ever known that I was missing without your contribution.

  27. josh

    Thanks, Rick. That means a lot.

    And thanks to everyone else. It’s gratifying to know that people are still out there reading “A.D.” on SMITH. I hope you’ll find the book edition useful as well.

  28. Dan

    I’m taking a class about Katrina this fall at Tulane. I wanted to get a start on the reading list and found this comic to be on the list and read through it over the course of a couple of hours. I had a friend pass away a few weeks ago and didn’t shed a tear, even though I mourned the loss, but this comic literally moved me to tears. I did not live in New Orleans during Katrina and did not move there until 2 years after she came through. I can’t imagine what the people in this story and in the city went through, but the feelings that I had, glued to the screen watching CNN hopelessly in the aftermath of Katrina were brought back with your comic. I will definitely be buying this book in August when it’s released.

  29. Josh Neufeld

    Hey Dan

    Thanks for your amazing note, and sorry to hear about the death of your friend.

    Just curious: what class at Tulane is assigning “A.D.” as reading material?

  30. Louisa Smith

    This is an amazing work. I’ve met many Katrina refugees, as I was living in Fort Worth, TX at the time of the hurricane and the DFW metroplex took the bulk of the outpouring of people- all of them have a unique, heartbreaking story to tell. This is an excellent sampling.

    Maybe I just missed it, but I have to ask, even though I doubt I’ll like the answer. What happened to the cat?

  31. Josh Neufeld

    Hey Louisa, Thanks for checking in. To find out what happened to the cat, you’ll have to buy the book! ;->

  32. M.C. ShellShock!

    Hi Josh,

    Wow. It’s so touching for someone outside of the experience to homage it so gracefully. Thank you for interpreting and keeping the candle lit for a (media)-forgotten topic that still has so many very real ramifications.

    I’d like to share two songs I have written, one is on my old myspace page and it’s a cover of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room”. It can be heard at http://www.myspace.com/shellshockrocks

    The other is a more uplifting, original song called “Katrina Tattoo”. It can be heard at http://www.myspace.com/mcshellshock

    Thanks again for your beautiful art!

    -Shelley ShellShock *_*

  33. Erika

    Is this Tappan Square in Oberlin, OH?

  34. Erika

    Never mind, I just saw Tristan’s comment. Nice work, Josh.

  35. Rob

    This is great stuff. Have you thought about doing a parallel comic re: the Gulf Coast? That story often gets forgotten, and deserves to be told more.

  36. Phil Bourque

    I found your creation to be so harrowing and suspenseful the pages couldn’t load fast enough. Thank you for a memorable encounter.

  37. Rudolf

    The book is now on sale in Holland, too. I read it this morning in my paper - it was the first I heard of the project.
    Checked the site and read the whole thing non-stop. It brought a tear to my eye. From Amsterdam, too: thank you.

  38. Femke Brouwer

    I read about this story in a book review in one of our national news papers ( I am Dutch) and decided to take a look on your website.
    We live near a river and when I was 5 years old our house was also flooded while we were in, I am still having nightmares.
    But it’s nothing compared to the story of the people in New Orleans.
    Never knew how bad it was, and a disgrace for the US government how they handled the situation, you would think the USA was a civilised country, but the social help is beneath the level of poverty.

  39. DeborahRedmond

    What a powerful way to tell this story. Thanks for the beautiful work.

  40. John Dillinger

    I was forced to read this for a comics class I am in; following this I proceeded to attempt to blind myself with a nearby pop can, unsuccessful I now am hoping to drown the memory in sprite zero.

  41. Fedora

    First, I’d like to apologize for m classmate being an ass. Secondly, I’d like to point out that (while this was far from my favorite webcomic) I actally did enjoy reading this. Well, maybe enjoy’s not the best word, but I am glad this comic has been written. My dad’s family is from Houma, Louisiana. While they weren’t hit as bad as New Orleans, they lived through Katrina. Reading this was probably the closest to living through that experience that I could get to

  42. Josh Neufeld

    Thanks, Fedora! And “John Dillinger,” hope the Sprite Zero works for ya!

  43. Tuyl

    Thanks for this. I guess I’m a little late, but it seems fitting as we approach the 5th anniversary. And, as I am finally working on healing my own Katrina feelings, I found your story incredibly touching.

  44. Melanie

    That was so touching- I ashamedly didn’t follow the event very closely when it occurred, I guess it was just too much for me at the time, and reading this gave a good insight into what happened. I couldn’t stop reading it. Great group of characters with different experiences. Thanks so much for all your hard work!

  45. Lea

    Hi Josh, just wanted to let you know that your comics are even read at colleges in Germany. Even here people are really moved by your work, remembering the pictures we saw on TV that summer. Thanks for that!

  46. Josh Neufeld

    Thank you, Lea, that’s amazing to hear. I’m still hoping for a German-language edition of A.D. The French edition comes out next month!

  47. Samra Hausey

    Josh, your work was amazing here. AD was required reading for my ENH280 class (at Rio Salado College in Tempe, AZ) - “Topics in American Literature: Graphic Novels and Comics” and it was in the lesson on documentaries. i am from California and now live in Arizona so when Katrina happened i was saddened but not very influenced by it. however i did live in Muskogee, Oklahoma from 08-2010 and thats were i saw quite a few refugees and heard more stories. Your novel really brought to life the people of the event instead of the politics of it. I feel like your book should be required reading in many other classes so folks can have a true understanding of these kind of historical incidents and it is in the same vein as MAUS and just as hard hitting. anyways i just wanted to let you know i was really moved by it :)

  48. Josh Neufeld

    Thank you, Samra! It’s gratifying to know that A.D. continues to speak to readers even now, almost eight years down the road from when Katrina hit.

  49. Robin

    This story captivated me. I cant believe how personal he put this in perspective for me. This is great. God bless all the survivors.
    If anyone ever wanted their story told about Katrina, accurately, thank this author because I never experienced the story of Katrina with such open eyes and ears as I have today. Thank You for creating this visual story.
    ~Robin W.

  50. Brandy M Knowles

    Wow..This was a really really great story.

  51. Faithe Ruiz

    Hi, Josh. I am a NO native and have only recently (since the tenth anniversary) been able to critically observe my story and to read others’ experiences and stories about the storm. I am glad to have reached this place. I left the city the Wednesday after and am one of the very lucky ones. Thanks for such a great representation of the real and for adding to the documented histories of what happened to so many. The more in the annals the better. Sincerely,

  52. Josh Neufeld

    Hi Faithe, Just coming across your comment now (I don’t check back on the A.D. site very often.) As always, it means so much to me when a Katrina survivor comes across A.D. and finds something of value in it. I really appreciate you chiming in!! All the best to you in this new hurricane season…

  53. Irma, Harvey, Katrina—when it comes to hurricanes, what goes around, comes around | Josh Neufeld

    [...] The photo essay “What They Saved: Texans Reflect on Treasures Plucked From Harvey”  evokes the epilogue, “Picking Up the Pieces” [...]

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