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As featured in Maclean's EXTREME WEATHER Edition, Nov 6, 2012

Now available on Kindle
AND Kobo

Pre-order a copy directly from me using Paypal:
Please let me know if you'd like it personalized (clearly stating your name), just signed, or untouched.
$20 with shipping.


Buy directly from the printer, Volumes:






On August 27, 2005, a Carnival cruise ship docked at the harbor of New Orleans. Amongst the arrivals were Canadian writer Marcy Italiano and her husband, G, wrapping a wild 10-year anniversary celebration in a city they dearly loved.

But this was less than 48 hours before the levees crumbled, and the nightmare began.

Katrina and The Frenchman is a haunting, harrowing first-person account of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, seen from the perspective of two tourists trapped in a city gripped by terror, and coming apart at the seams. Repeatedly finding light in the darkness, and then watching the darkness swallow it whole. Finally forced to escape on their own, when the system broke down completely.

Mostly, though, this is a story about beautiful people, and what they become as their hope runs out.

I love this book. It’s a riveting story, intimately told with skill, deep humility, startling honesty, and the kind of stark photographic recall most people only achieve when they find themselves suddenly slapped within an inch of their lives by death. Which is, of course, precisely what happened; and that profound revelation is delivered intact throughout the course of this beautiful, powerful work.”
-- John Skipp, bestselling author of Jake’s Wake and The Light At The End

Marcy Italiano is sharing their story so that donations from sales of Katrina And The Frenchman: A Journal From The Street can be made to Common Ground Relief, and to help the people of New Orleans.

**Update August 26th, 2009**

After the first two months I'd like to let you know that a donation has already been sent to Common Ground Relief.
Thanks to all of you who bought a copy of the book and helped make a difference.



"I just finished reading Katrina and the Frenchman...I burned through (it) in about 5 hours. That should let you know how much it blew me away. I’m still sitting here stunned at what I’ve read.

Your experience was so tremendously different than mine. A polar opposite in many ways. I went in not only voluntarily, but totally prepared both mentally and physically for what I was about to experience. I’d been chasing tornadoes for about five years at that point so I had a pretty good understanding of what these systems can do. We had lots of water, food and gas and we were able to set up in a location that gave us maximum protection from the wind and water.

And it was still the single most intense experience in my life

...The writing is incredibly personal and powerful. I keep coming back to how different it was from what I went through and that makes it so important to me to read it. I got the worst part of the storm, but the easy part of the story. We were able to escape in minutes after the wind died down and because we had cars and lots of gas. Man, if I’d known what was going on in the city, we would have headed straight into New Orleans and started giving rides to get people out of there...We didn’t meet that many people in the storm and I think that’s what makes your story so powerful.

The ironic part of this is that I’m writing this on the plane as I head to Fort MacMurray, another major disaster zone. Your book made a huge difference in how I’m going to approach the story that I’m heading into, so I have to say thank you in a major way."
-- exerpt from an email (with permission) from Mark Robinson, StormHunter and Meteorologist at The Weather Network

"KATRINA AND THE FRENCHMAN: A JOURNAL FROM THE STREET is a compelling personal account of a national tragedy. Harrowing, vivid and incredibly touching, it will open your eyes to the catastrophe that befell New Orleans."
-- Christopher Golden & Tim Lebbon, authors of Mind the Gap and The Map of Moments

From Bev Vincent:
“Novelists have often written about what might happen if a city becomes cut off from the rest of the world. They speculate about how humanity will react under these conditions. Picture scenes from Stephen King's THE STAND where New Yorkers struggle to leave the island after it is devastated by an epidemic. Disaster brings out the best and the worst in people, but we don't often have anything from the real world to decide if the fiction writers got it right or not. In August 2005, nature handed us such an example.

“Hurricane Katrina was one of those events that people watched around the world in real time. In Katrina and the Frenchman: A Journal from the Street, Marcy Italiano offers a first person account of what she and her husband experienced from the day before the storm struck until they were ultimately able to escape from New Orleans many days later. Those of us who watched on television only got part of the picture--we could never truly appreciate the horror of the situation from the comfort of our living rooms--but at times we knew a lot more about the "big picture" than those on the ground. Italiano takes us through each day, from the point of no return after which people were forced to remain in the city regardless of their desires, through the harrowing hours of the storm itself and the aftermath, which was in many ways worse than the hurricane. Food and water became luxury items, as did information. Rumors swept through the city like flood waters. Another hurricane was coming. Walls of water were bearing down on the city. Buses were coming. Buses weren't coming. Much of the information received by those who were stranded was either wrong, misleading or useless. Invocations to abandon the city now, issued long after the point where that was still possible. Faulty directions. Lack of organization at all levels.

“Italiano introduces us to a small group of survivors, referring to them by colorful nicknames--a city of origin or a distinguishing feature. She takes us through the tedium of waiting and not knowing, their gradual loss of faith that they might ever get home again. Her book is intensely personal. She reveals her anguishes, both physical and emotional. Having to decide what belongings were worth keeping and which ones could be jettisoned when they were forced to lighten their loads. Anger at the unfairness of the situation, and grievances over small issues that were magnified out of proportion due to the stress of the situation. And, ultimately, the terror didn't end when they were on a bus headed to Houston. Their escape was fortuitous and she recounts a combination of survivor guilt--when she became one of us, watching the disaster continue to unfold on her own television--and post-traumatic stress reinforced by the pervasive curiosity of everyone they talked with in the weeks after they returned to Canada. Her anguish as she watched friends try to decide what to do when Hurricane Rita materialized a few weeks later. Even nature took a jab at them, sending the remains of Rita to tumble the gazebo in their back yard.

“KATRINA AND THE FRENCHMAN: A JOURNAL FROM THE STREET is a fast read, constructed in the form of a personal diary or a blog, but it will have a lasting and profound impact on readers as they are escorted on a guided tour of the closest thing to hell this continent has experienced in a long time.”
-- Bev Vincent, author of The Road to the Dark Tower

"I devoured this book in one weekend... This book is part therapy, part journal and part history. It is a painful yet useful read to experience such an 'unfair' and horrific storm. Thank you, Marcy Italiano..."
-- Cindy Matthews in her review in The Record (read the full review on the Media page)

“It was incredibly powerful and utterly gripping, for sure. I read it in one sitting, with breaks to just cry. Oh, hey, I'm going to cry again now just thinking about it.”
-- Mehitobel Wilson, author of the collection Dangerous Red

"Everyone knows that bad things happened to New Orleans four years ago. If you read this book, you'll realize that you had no idea how bad those things actually were, and what an atrocity it is that the city was ignored, left to die, and when it survived, never given a fair chance to recover. This book has more amazing characters than any novel you've ever read, with the possible exception of War and Peace, and every one of them is real. They are heroic, terrified, good, evil, desperate, caring, uncaring and any other human quality you can imagine. Buy the book. Read the book. Trust me on this."
-- Dave Hogg, Associated Press Sports Writer - Here's a full Goodreads review.

"In Katrina and the Frenchman: A Journal from the Street, Marcy Italiano gives us a front-row view of her nerve-shearing personal voyage through one of the most horrifying disasters in recent memory. Written while the ragged wound in her emotions still burned fresh, it's of the most disturbing reads I've ever picked up."
-- Mark W. Worthen, author of short stories "Old Hippies, Duct Tape and Tough Choices", "With Black Curtains" and more.

"I went to see Marcy Italiano and Tom Monteleone read. Marcy was great, reading a very touching journal entry from when she was stuck in New Orleans post-Katrina. There were few dry eyes in the room."
-- Nate Southard blog entry (August 2006), author of Just Like Hell

"I want to give a special shout out to Marcy Italiano ( who read from her soon to be published (any publisher that doesn’t pick this up is either stupid or crazy) book about her and her husband experiences at ground zero in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina."
-- Robert Shuster from

"It was such a good read that I lent out my signed copy and never got it back."
-- Shannon Jaklitsch

"I’m halfway through and can’t put it down. Just an amazing story! It’s also really good to read on the ipad as I can go on google streetview and look at the places as you describe them. I spent a couple of weeks staying with friends in New Orleans, so my images of that city run quite deep."
-- Bob Thompson

"I just wanted to send a little note to say I just finally read your book. I felt as though you took me there and I shared the experience with you and Giasone. It reduced me to tears at many points and I truly felt your pain. I hope you never have to endure something like that again in your lifetime. I hope I never have to as well. I hope you have found some closure by returning and although you will never forget this horrible experience, can move past it and find some peace with it."
-- Diane Manderson

"Just letting you know I received my copy of your book today. I had already decided beforehand that I would wait for a while to read it, because I know it will be an emotional journey. That being said, I'm on page 54. And I was only looking it over! I guess I'm as ready to take the journey as I'll ever be. I want to say that I'm looking forward to reading it, and yet that somehow doesn't seem appropriate, given the subject matter. It's more like I hear it calling me and I can't turn away."
-- Carolyn Kelly

"Your book arrived yesterday, which is amazingly quick. I didn’t go pick up the mail until about 6:00 p.m. and I was going to start it last night. Then I let (my wife) have a look and she gobbled it up. I haven’t seen her read a book in probably 5 or 6 years – she’s usually so busy or tired at night – but she ran off to bed and read the entire book front to back. She loved it, Marcy, and told me to tell you how incredible she thought it was. She couldn’t stop or put it down until she knew the whole story. Now it’s my turn. I’ll hopefully get to it today and give you my thoughts soon too. Just wanted to get on here and let you know it arrived and what (my wife) thought."
-- Anonymous

"I'm enjoying reading your book so much I was up till 1:30 am and then couldn't sleep and read some more."
-- Angela Cameron

"I read Katrina and the Frenchman last night on a night shift, it was the first time in my life I've read an entire book in one sitting. It was truly incredible. I was in New Orleans in Oct 2006 and saw the aftermath a full year later and I can still only imagine the first hand experience. I wanted to thank you for sharing such a life changing story."
-- Patrick Gulka

"I read the book. You got me!! I read it in one sitting – I was going to bed and stayed up all night. Powerful! I felt I was there. Your intimate reactions brought life and reality to those of us who watched the aftermath via CNN news. You put a face and soul to the horror. KEEP WRITING!!"
--Teresa Toth

"Re: my comment about tough moments in the book. Wow, there were a lot for me: obviously, the moment with the woman and her dead baby, and the body revealed to Curious-Girl. I think some of the "offscreen" stuff, also, like when G. made you promise not to look into the Convention Center. It's weird, because I said your voice and tone carried me through the tough moments, but they also made them *worse*, because you form such a strong, compassionate bond with the reader--we hear things through your voice, see them through your eyes, but we're also watching YOU in the situation, and worrying about your own suffering. I think I especially identified with the physical issues (not sure if you could walk the distance; hanging onto the water bottle, etc.), and the insomnia scene--that weird kind of worry spiral that I sometimes have in even the safest moments. You really put us through the scenes WITH you. Such a compelling narrative."
--Norman Prentiss

Last but not least, the rejection that made me finally decide to self-publish and send donations back to New Orleans to help rebuild...
"I think you have created something powerful and important. It is not, however, something that O’More Publishing can print. ... The language is too harsh, for instance, for what we have worked on so far and what we plan on working on during the near future. BUT, the language reflects the story too closely to be changed; I could not ask you to change it."
-- Jessa R. Sexton, O'More Publishing





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