National Book Tour Set For Eyewitness Hurricane Katrina Book “The Five People You Meet in HELL: Surviving Katrina”

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A national book tour for the New Orleans bestseller, “The Five People You Meet in Hell: Surviving Katrina,” by Robert Smallwood was announced today. The tour will kick off at Books, Inc. in San Francisco and Borders in San Jose August 17 and 19 and will continue at Borders and Barnes & Noble stores in Chicago, Houston, San Antonio, Atlanta, D.C. and ten other cities. The book is the only book-length first person account of the events that unfolded in downtown New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It has been selling out at local New Orleans stores, is uniquely written in “a feral style and knowledgeable, first-hand passion,” said Rex Reed, of the New York Observer

A national book tour for the New Orleans bestseller, “The Five People You Meet in Hell: Surviving Katrina,” by Robert Smallwood was announced today by Bacchus Books of New Orleans. The tour will kick off at Books, Inc. in San Francisco and Borders in San Jose August 17 and 19. The tour will continue at Borders and Barnes & Noble stores in Chicago, Houston, San Antonio, Atlanta, D.C. and ten other cities.

The book is the only book-length first person account of the events that unfolded in downtown New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It has been selling out at local New Orleans stores, is uniquely written in “a feral style and knowledgeable, first-hand passion,” said Rex Reed, of the New York Observer

Other book signing dates include August 24, 25 and 26 at Borders stores in Austin, San Antonio and Houston, Texas; September 16-17 at Borders in Ft. Lauderdale and North Miami; and September 26 in Wheaton (Chicago) Illinois at Borders. Smallwood will discuss and sign the book at Barnes & Noble stores in New Orleans, Gulfport, MS and Atlanta September 9-10 and October 7. Additional details will be forthcoming.

In the fast-paced true story, readers experience what it was like in the French Quarter as the storm approached and made landfall. They’ll meet five unique survivors who endured Hurricane Katrina, among them actor/comedian Harry Anderson, star of the 80s sitcom Night Court, and a salty, 81 year-old retired sailor who rode out the storm and the chaotic aftermath.

Robert Smallwood was there and he takes you inside the experience with suspense, humor and reflection. He describes the ordeal in amazing detail including the explosions, looting, gunfire and fire in anarchy of the aftermath. He had revolvers and high-powered rifles pointed at him, helped police loot stores for basic necessities of survival, and learned how to survive in an environment of chaos, danger, and anarchy. But through it all, he describes the humanity he found among other survivors around him as they bonded in a struggle to hang onto the tattered threads of the fabric of normal, day-to-day life.

Local officials and law enforcement personnel struggled helplessly to restore and maintain order in a hot, steamy cauldron where tens of thousands of people were cast into the street with nowhere to go. Smallwood saw first-hand, massive gatherings of displaced human beings waiting anxiously and uncertainly for days for some signs of relief. He witnessed the extremes of humanity and brutality, anarchy and order, sadness and humor, despair and hope. And through it all, he maintains a storyteller's eye for colorful narrative and even more colorful characters, the kind found only in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Smallwood states, “I wasn’t thinking about writing a book at the time – I was just trying to survive and help my neighbors too. It got a little dicey.”

The riveting first-person account is written in such a clear and arresting style it has readers staying up all night to finish the book. Actor and comedian Harry Anderson exclaimed, “I especially like the parts about me.”

“Read it, meet the five people and find the treasure!” said writer and NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu.

Dean M. Shapiro, author and critic comments, "Robert Smallwood was down there in the trenches where the real action was, while the story was unfolding and we are there with him.”

The book predicts that the artistic community in New Orleans will return with even greater prominence. Smallwood begins his account with, “Although the nation and the world pities New Orleans and mourns its death-by-media, those whose heart and spirit live there know that what makes the city so unique hasn’t been destroyed by the effects of Katrina, but rather, temporarily dispersed. People in Houston, Denver, Atlanta, New York and elsewhere are getting a watered-down dose of New Orleans culture - an inimitable romantic brew of history, music, art, cuisine, corruption, carnality, faith, and freedom. And as these elements return to New Orleans, like moths to a flame, with the focused fervor that tragedy brings to art, it will rise to be even greater than it once was: the most hauntingly distinct and enjoyable place in America and cultural icon for the world.”

The Five People You Meet in Hell: Surviving Katrina, published by Bacchus Books of New Orleans and is available online at Amazon.com, as well as major bookstores and Borders and Barnes & Noble bookstores nationwide. Members of the press may request interviews and a review copy by emailing the author directly.

The Five People You Meet In Hell: Surviving Katrina

By Robert Smallwood

Bacchus Books of New Orleans

246 pages

$16.99

About the Author:

Robert Smallwood is a New Orleans French Quarter resident. He shares his birthplace, Davenport, Iowa with traditional jazz great Bix Beiderbecke and his birthday, July 5, with French writer and filmmaker Jean Cocteau. Smallwood left Iowa and moved to New Orleans in 1982. He has published over 100 articles in computer trade journals and is regarded as an international expert in enterprise content management technologies. This is his first book.

Contact: Robert Smallwood

504-324-2340

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