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.

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I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

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