“Bubbles from Atlantis” is the only post-Katrina work of non-fiction that reaches the crazed heights of Hunter S. Thompson’s legendary work of drugged-up degeneracy and wisdom. San Diego-based artist and former New Orleans resident Sean Dietrich provides illustrations that capture the madness of that terrible and tender time.
The debut book from author Richard A. Webster stands alone in its use of wicked satire and dark humor to take on right wing pundits, local politicians, the New Orleans Police Department, class warfare and an insidious streak of racism that plagued the city before the storm and proved to be an even greater threat in the aftermath.
“Bubbles from Atlantis” spans the first year after Hurricane Katrina, documenting the recovery through two separate prisms—straightforward journalism and hallucinatory dispatches written between October 2005 and September 2006.
In articles from the weekly publication New Orleans CityBusiness, Webster covers marauding gangs of transvestites, murder-happy babies strapped with AK-47s, a rising tide of David Duke-loving racists, and a broken but unbowed population determined to kick its critics in the teeth and rise again. At the same time, through his personal journals, Webster chronicles his own struggle to make sense of the tragedy swirling around him as he becomes increasingly unhinged, addicted, psychotic and, eventually, paranoid enough to construct a private tomb out of beer bottles and rage.
Excerpt from Bubbles from Atlantis:
“New Orleans is a bum and an angel, a devil and a wastrel, a genius, monster, moron and master. It is pearl-white mansions and crack houses in flames. It is song and dance and slashing knives and gats. Dark wisdom, enlightenment, cool- night brass bands and scorching summer crawfish boils. I caught a firefly with my mouth the other day. My name is Jack-O-Lantern and I sit on the front stoop smiling for the parentless children hopscotching on broken-glass sidewalks. I am the ruin and undying hope of the last-gasp offspring of our crumbling memories.”
Richard A. Webster is a staff writer for New Orleans CityBusiness covering crime, healthcare, tourism and social justice. He has won more than 50 awards over the past six years from local and national organizations. “Bubbles from Atlantis” is Webster’s debut book and the first offering from Colosseum Publishing.