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After Katrina

17 December 2007

'The most important job of a writer is to tell the truth and I feel I've done that...

The Tin Roof Blowdown came about almost by accident. I wasn't going to write a novel about Katrina because it was too depressing. Then an editor at Esquire called me and asked if I could write a short story and I said I didn't think I could.... The next day, I went to mass at a little town nearby, and when we got home I thought: 'Jesus out to Sea', and that was the title. I had heard an account of the priest in the lower Ninth Ward who tried to get his parishioners to leave. He stayed and he died, so I wrote the story based on two of his parishioners. I figured if I was going to write about Katrina, then this was the time and if others doubt what happened in New Orleans, nothing I or anyone else can say will influence their thinking.'

James Lee Burke on his new novel The Tin Roof Blowdown in Publishing News