A Review of Tom Piazza's City of Refuge

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City of Refuge

It was mid-August on a hot summer day hurricane Katrina damaged a city, New Orleans, possibly for a lifetime. The novel: City of Refuge by Tom Piazza gives readers an omniscient point of view of two families lives during this tragic event. The Williams family from the Lower 9th Ward and the Donaldsons originally from the upper Midwest who had made their way to New Orleans share the same traumatic experience; in different ways of the levees breaking from hurricane Katrina changed both of their lives forever. On Friday morning Craig Donaldson saw on the news that Hurricane Katrina had moved into the Gulf, heading in their direction. Craig and Alice, his wife contemplated leaving the following day or the day after for Oxford, Mississippi. Saturday morning started out rocky. Malcolm, their son, woke up with a burning fever. With all of this going on Craig prepared for their evacuation by getting the house in order before Katrina hit on Sunday. Around mid-day they decided to get on the road; unfortunately, the highway was backed up. Craig then decided to take a different route on a two-lane highway; traffic flowed at first but that too got backed up. Due to the extensive amount of traffic and the effects of the storm, they stopped at a hotel. They had wanted to stay with Alice’s parents but there were too many complications of not having enough room space, so her mom says. They waited at the hotel until the weather was clear enough for them to continue driving. Alice’s mother insisted she call her Aunt Jean and Uncle Gus who lived in Chicago. After Alice made the phone call, they decided to make their journey back to the Midwest. When they arrived in Chicago her family presented them with great hospitality and said they could stay as long as they needed. Alice decided to enroll Annie their daughter into school. During this time Alice was still taking care of Malcolm and helping her aunt and uncle around the house. The hurricane took a toll on...
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