1. Have you visited New Orleans before? Do you think a visit to the city is necessary to connect to this book?
I've visited New Orleans twice, and while I don't think that a visit to the city is necessary to connect to this book (or enjoy it), I think it would definitely help. New Orleans is a unique place, and lots of the stories and references that Julia includes can only be fully appreciated if you have experienced NOLA firsthand. Some of the bizarre things that she mentions might seem a bit unbelievable unless you have been there and know that New Orleans is the capitol of bizarre things :)
2. What are your thoughts on Julia's writing style? Do you like the way she tells stories?
She has a good sense of humor. Some of her writing is a little bit too tongue in cheek, but for the most part it's fun and witty. She also describes things very colorfully with great adjectives :) She does name drop a lot which gets tedious; I don't know the people whom she mentions but I get the feeling that she assumes that I would know them and be impressed that she's friends with them.
3. To me Julia took a laid back approach to the evacuation warnings and even devastation. What was your reaction to her approach? How do you think you would have handled a flood of such proportions?
I was a little shocked that she would plan a dinner party the night before Katrina hit! That said, however, she mentioned that when you live in a place that is always getting dire warnings of impending disaster that you kind of become immune to them and tend to think that your city is going to be spared one more time. That seems to be what she was thinking. I'm a worrier so I probably would have evacuated far before Julia did, but I also rather admire her laid back approach. She managed to come out OK without much stress!
4. Julia instantly was solicited by her editors to do pieces on the disaster. Do you think she gave an accurate portrayal?
I've learned a lot more about Katrina and its consequences for NOLA residents in this book than I knew before, but Julia might be a bit biased in her portrayal. She definitely loves New Orleans, and I don't know if she gives the city, state, and federal leaders a fair judgment for their decisions in the crisis or not.