Sentences — September 5, 2008, 3:20 pm

Weekend Read: Bearing Down on the Banks

At the Republican convention the city of New Orleans and the larger gulf coast received what was doubtless a salubrious and meaningful supply of fortifying lip service. One might suppose that with so much proffered, little more is needed. But the editors of a new magazine called Triple Canopy, surely to their discredit, seem to think otherwise. The new, third issue of their online-only endeavor is devoted to a consideration of New Orleans in the light of the reportorially remote events of Hurricane Katrina and their aftermath.

For this week’s Weekend Read, I propose you explore the audio, images, and text in this excellent multimedia magazine that–however attuned its editors are to what the web does well–hasn’t forgotten what magazines also need to be: written. Notable contributors so far include Roberto Bolaño, Rivka Galchen, Samantha Power, and Wayne Koestenbaum.

Issue three of Triple Canopy begins:

As we write this, Hurricane Gustav is bearing down on the banks of the Gulf Coast, and New Orleans has once again been emptied of its residents. We could never have predicted that Gustav’s landfall would coincide with the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and with the Republican National Convention (as well as with the publication of this issue), but we might have expected it. The force of this storm’s symbolism may have surpassed that of its winds, but as ocean temperatures have steadily risen, so has the frequency of Category 4 and 5 storms. The Army Corps of Engineers recently admitted that, even with the repairs made to New Orleans’s levee system, each year there is still a decent chance that one-third of the city will be submerged under six feet of water. This month’s headlines sound like the knell of the so-called hundred-year storm.

And continues here. I propose it as your weekend read.

Single Page

More from Wyatt Mason:

Conversation October 2, 2015, 8:26 am

Permission to Speak Frankly

“By committing to the great emotional extremes demanded by Greek tragedy,” says Bryan Doerries, author of The Theater of War, “the actors are in effect saying to the audience: ‘If you want to match our emotional intensity, that would be fine.’”

From the October 2014 issue

You Are Not Alone Across Time

Using Sophocles to treat PTSD

From the February 2010 issue

The untamed

Joshua Ferris’s restless-novel syndrome

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada



October 2015

Lives by Omission

Lifting as We Climb

Cattle Calls

Getting Jobbed

view Table Content


“One of the peculiar things about economic inequality is that the people who are most articulate about it are not poor, while the poor themselves have said little, at least in print, about their situation.”
Photograph © Reuters/Brendan McDermid
“It would be nice to get through this review without recourse to the term ‘writer’s writer.’ The thing is, in the case of Joy Williams, I have seen the cliché made flesh.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
“Miniatures originated in Persia and were brought to the Indian subcontinent when the Mughals conquered it in the sixteenth century. They could take on almost any subject: landscapes or portraits; stories of love, war, or play.”
Painting by by Imran Qureshi.
“The business of being a country veterinarian is increasingly precarious. The heartland has been emptying of large-animal vets for at least two decades, as agribusiness changed the employment picture and people left the region.”
Photograph by Lance Rosenfield
“Rosie and her husband had burned through their small savings in the first few months after she lost her job. Now their family of five relied on his minimum-wage paychecks, plus Rosie’s unemployment and food stamps, which, combined, brought them to around $2,000 per month, just above the poverty line.”
Illustrations by Taylor Callery

Percentage of Americans who can correctly name the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court:


Peak happiness was observed at a per capita GDP of $36,000.

Doctors Without Borders withdrew from the Afghan city of Kunduz after a U.S.-led airstrike destroyed one of the organization’s hospitals, killing 22 people.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!


Subways Are for Sleeping


“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

Subscribe Today