Praise

“Compelling beyond belief, deserving the broadest possible readership, and mandatory reading for urban planners and community organizers, this is a tour-de-force about one American city and what it means to fight for the survival of your hometown. If you love where you live, you need to know this story of what it has taken to rebuild every flooded block of New Orleans.”

Booklist (Starred Review)

“As Tom Wooten chronicles in his moving portrait, ‘We Shall Not Be Moved: Rebuilding Home in the Wake of Katrina,’ much of the repair work was done through community and nonprofit groups…. [His stories] recall the American frontier days in their demonstrations of human resourcefulness, cooperation and independence…. Mr. Wooten meticulously tracks the work of civic groups in five parts of New Orleans as they labored to prove that their neighborhoods were worth saving, underscoring the importance of fostering such groups long before a catastrophe hits.”

The Wall Street Journal

“We Shall Not Be Moved” is a careful and probing document of the near-death and continuing restoration of New Orleans.  In a city where the civic firmament is often shifting and unreliable, the survival of New Orleans has largely depended on ordinary people doing extraordinary things in an unrelenting fashion.  Simply put, the people who live here, who grew up here and know what life here can and should be, refuse to give up on that.  When all else failed, they did not.  They came home and went to work.  Tom Wooten, in writing some of those stories, has been equally faithful.”

—David Simon, Creator of Treme and The Wire

We Shall Not Be Moved offers a moving portrait of a city’s struggle to rebuild. It is not an account of Katrina per se…. Rather, it is a story of the arduous endeavor residents have undertaken in New Orleans since the news crews packed up and the nation’s attention moved on. The stories it tells are every bit as gripping and important as tales from the storm itself.”

—Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and American Sketches

“That New Orleans was able to rebuild after the levees broke—without sacrificing the city’s essential and unique character—is one of American history’s most inspiring stories. Future historians studying the resurrection of New Orleans will find We Shall Not Be Moved an invaluable resource.”

—Dan Baum, author of Nine Lives

 “Few disasters are every truly ‘natural,’ and, as Tom Wooten shows, reconstruction after catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina is shaped heavily by individuals, their communities, and the structural barriers they face. We Shall Not Be Moved tells the stories of five New Orleans neighborhoods through the eyes and voices of residents revitalizing their neighborhoods. Portraying a diverse range of community leaders—from a Vietnamese Catholic priest to a single mother organizing in the Lower Ninth Ward to an eight-decade resident of Hollygrove—Wooten spins a compelling tale based on deep knowledge of local worlds, linked to an understanding of the large-scale social forces that affect these worlds in ways too often invisible to journalists and other chroniclers of events like Katrina. The stories in We Shall Not Be Moved show the essential role of local knowledge in long-term recovery and reconstruction.”

 —Dr. Paul Farmer, author of Haiti after the Earthquake

 “In this moving book, Tom Wooten narrates the daily struggles of residents of five neighborhoods in New Orleans to overcome the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. We Shall Not Be Moved brilliantly weaves together the stories of community residents, including accounts of their unprecedented organizing and rebuilding efforts. Wooten’s revealing nonfiction narrative is a must-read.”

 — William Julius Wilson, Harvard University

 “Wooten’s gripping narrative account of post-Katrina recovery speaks to the importance of local organizing as a source of community resilience in disaster’s wake. The stories he tells have implications that reach far beyond the particular circumstance of New Orleans, helping us understand the overall dynamics of community recovery.”

 —Marshall Ganz, Author of Why David Sometimes Wins

 We Shall Not be Moved weaves together a sociologically rich account of human resilience in the face of collective catastrophe.”

— Erik Olin Wright, American Sociological Association President