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Not Just The Levees Broke

A 2008 non-fiction book by Phyllis Montana-LeBlanc.

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We need to hear more from "regular" Americans like Phyllis Montana-Leblanc

  • Dec 3, 2008
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I have to be honest with you. I really struggled to figure out just what to make of "Not Just The Levees Broke".  After all, Phyllis Montana-Leblanc is not a writer by trade and as she predicted a number of times in the book her salty language was indeed a bit of a turn-off for me.  Nevertheless, after much thought and soul searching I have come to the conclusion that the country really does need to hear from more average folk like Phyllis if we are ever to begin to solve the myriad problems that we are facing in this nation. "Not Just The Levees Broke: My Story During and After Hurricane Katrina" is a riveting first person account of one person's monumental struggle for survival in the aftermath of one of the greatest natural disasters in American history. It is compelling reading.

Although she alway enjoyed writing a little poetry I doubt that Phyllis Montana-Leblanc ever imagined that one day she would write and publish a book.  This incredible opportunity came along after Phyllis was interviewed for Spike Lee's documentary film "When The Levees Broke"Spike Lee was extremely impressed with what Phyllis had to say and the way she was able to say it.  It was apparent to Lee that Phyllis was "the dominent voice in the piece".  Well one thing led to another and before long the chance to do a book came along.  And Phyllis made the most of her once in a lifetime opportunity.  Now I will have to admit that some of Phyllis' choicest language was entirely justified.  Her graphic descriptions of her immediate surroundings in the aftermath of the storm seem entirely justified.  There is simply no polite way to describe a scene where water polluted with oil, garbage, debris and human excrement is flooding your home.  I could not have imagined how bad things really were in the City of New Orleans during those dark days but Phyllis Montana-Leblanc succeeds in making it all abundantly clear.  Phyllis also decries what she considers to be the woefully inadequate response of government at all levels to this dreadful situation.

After finishing "Not Just The Levees Broke" I came to this conclusion. Author Phyllis Montana-Leblanc is a person who loves her city, loves her country, loves her family and loves her God. She is definitely a person who has something to say and without Hurricane Katrina we would have never heard from her.  All of this makes me wonder if it would be not be great idea to offer more so-called "average" Americans the opportunity to write a book.  I suspect there are lots of talented writers out there who do something else for a living that would just love to do this.  There is obviously no shortage of books out there by the cultural elite.  Perhaps some publisher would consider an "Ordinary Americans" series.  At the end of the day I found "Not Just The Levees Broke: My Story During and After Hurricane Katrina" to be well worth my time. It is unlike any book that I have ever read before.  Kudos to Phyllis Montana-Leblanc for a job well done!         Recommended.
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About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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About this book


Called "one of the rawest specimens of classic Nawlins spitfire you'll ever find" by Newsweek, and featured in Spike Lee's HBO documentary When the Levees Broke, Phyllis Montana-Leblanc gives an astounding and poignant account of how she and her husband lived through one of our nation's worst disasters, and continue to put their lives back together.

New Orleans Hurricane Katrina survivor Phyllis Leblanc reveals moment by moment the impending doom she and her family experienced during one of the greatest disasters in contemporary American history. The initial weather forecast, the public warnings from officials, and then the increasingly devastating developments -- the winds and rain, the rising waters -- Not Just the Levees Broke begs the question, What would you do in a life-and-death situation with your family and neighbors facing the ultimate test of character?

Not Just the Levees Broke is a portrayal of the human spirit at its best -- the generosity of family, neighbors, and strangers; the depth of love that one can hold for another; the power to help and heal others.

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ISBN-10: 1416563466
ISBN-13: 978-1416563464
Author: Phyllis Montan-LeBlanc
Genre: Hurricanes
Publisher: Atria
Date Published: August 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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