We Shall Not Be Moved by Tom Wooten
Rebuilding Home in the Wake of Katrina

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As floodwaters drained in the weeks following Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans residents came to a difficult realization. Their city was about to undertake the largest disaster recovery in American history, yet they faced a profound leadership vacuum: members of every tier of government, from the municipal to the federal level, had fallen down on the job. We Shall Not Be Moved tells the absorbing story of the community leaders who stepped into this void to rebuild the city they loved.
From a Vietnamese Catholic priest who immediately knows when two of his six thousand parishioners go missing to a single mother from the Lower Ninth Ward who instructs the likes of Jimmy Carter and Brad Pitt, these intrepid local organizers show that a city’s fate rests on the backs of its citizens. On their watch, New Orleans neighborhoods become small governments. These leaders organize their neighbors to ward off demolition threats, write comprehensive recovery plans, found community schools, open volunteer centers, raise funds to rebuild fire stations and libraries, and convince tens of thousands of skeptical residents to return home. Focusing on recovery efforts in five New Orleans neighborhoods—Broadmoor, Hollygrove, Lakeview, the Lower Ninth Ward, and Village de l’Est—Tom Wooten presents vivid narratives through the eyes and voices of residents rebuilding their homes, telling a story of resilience as entertaining as it is instructive.
The unprecedented community mobilization underway in New Orleans is a silver lining of Hurricane Katrina’s legacy. By shedding light on this rebirth, We Shall Not Be Moved shows how residents, remarkably, turned a profound national failure into a story of hope.

About Tom Wooten

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Tom Wooten is coauthor of No One Had a Tongue to Speak. Since graduating from Harvard in 2008 and moving to New Orleans, he has worked as a researcher for the Harvard Kennedy School, as a neighborhood volunteer coordinator, and as a fifth- and sixth-grade writing teacher.
Published August 7, 2012 by Beacon Press. 256 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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After participating in a Harvard fellowship to volunteer with and research the stories of Hurricane Katrina victims, Wooten (co-author: No One Had a Tongue to Speak: The Untold Story of One of History’s Deadliest Floods, 2011) moved to New Orleans to more fully immerse himself in the community’s ...

May 07 2012 | Read Full Review of We Shall Not Be Moved: Rebuil...

The Wall Street Journal

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Long after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast, vast expanses of New Orleans remained a stinking, muddy wasteland, the city's population dispersed to temporary homes across the state and the nation.

Aug 03 2012 | Read Full Review of We Shall Not Be Moved: Rebuil...

ForeWord Reviews

Wooten’s book is a hopeful look at the disaster and recovery of Katrina-struck New Orleans, focusing on community leaders, neighborhood by neighborhood.

Aug 07 2012 | Read Full Review of We Shall Not Be Moved: Rebuil...

Englewood Review of Books

As story after story makes clear, official urban planning initiatives – led, in many cases, by “experts” from outside the city – often got in the way of efforts that had already been undertaken by city residents to bring their neighborhoods back to life.

Oct 16 2012 | Read Full Review of We Shall Not Be Moved: Rebuil...

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