Each week in this space, I feature a “snippet” from a current or upcoming work, but this week, I want to introduce you instead to a setting from my November release, RIVER ROAD. If you’ve been following the news this past week, you already might have heard about it. About half of the book is set in New Orleans; the rest is set in Plaquemines Parish about three years post-Katrina.
Plaquemines took a hard, devastating hit this week from Hurricane Isaac. Because of the angle of the storm, this area was hit harder by Isaac than by Katrina seven years earlier. A portion of my royalties from RIVER ROAD had already been pledged to assist this area, whose fishing industry was almost destroyed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
(Note: for those unfamiliar with Louisiana, we have parishes instead of counties, but it’s the same thing.)
Metro New Orleans takes up the whole of Orleans Parish. Due east is St. Bernard Parish; north, above Lake Pontchartrain, is St. Tammany Parish. To its west and south is Jefferson Parish. And to its southeast is Plaquemines. (Click on any of these maps to enlarge.)
Plaquemines has always fascinated me. If you imagine Southeast Louisiana as a boot, Plaquemines is the long, narrow peninsula that extends into the Gulf, with the Mississippi River running right down the middle of it. In the map above, it’s that vulnerable blue part sticking out in the Gulf. At the very tip lies the mouth of the Mississippi River, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico not through a single outlet, but a series of passes that looks like a bird’s claw. This was the land of the pirate Jean Lafitte, whose pirates were the ruling force in the areas around Barataria Bay and points east. And he was their king.
In River Road, DJ, Alex and the gang (including our friend Lafitte) are trying to broker a truce between clans of rival merpeople who live near the mouth of the river. A number of Plaquemines communities come into play. There are major scenes set in these communities you can find on the map below (click to see it enlarged): West Point a la Hache, Duvic, Buras, Venice, Orchard, Tidewater, Pilottown, and Pass a Loutre.
So, welcome to the world of RIVER ROAD. It is a world in pain right now as the people of Plaquemines Parish begin the long process of recovery from catastrophic flooding yet again. And they’re doing it under the blistering sun of 90-plus degree heat and no electricity. Again.
Sorry to leave you on a downer, so here are the weekly winners. If you see your name, please contact me HERE with your mailing info. Note to winners: I’m behind with my mailings due to some ridiculous deadlines and day-job demands. Please be patient. 🙂
ALICIA0605, who won Ellie James’ Broken Illusions.
BIOCHEMGUY, who won the Ace-Roc sampler courtesy of author Jill Archer, whose new urban fantasy Dark Light of Day is one of the books featured.
REBE, who won the three book prize pack from Shannon Delany, Tracey O’Hara and Karina Cooper, for participating in the Wednesday book club discussion.
AMYT865, who won Vicki Pettersson’s The Taken.
STEELERLADY2379, who won the Reader’s Choice this week–she chose Alexandra Ivy’s Fear of Darkness.
I’m hard on deadline tomorrow, so no blog. But come back Tuesday for your big weekly Reader’s Choice contest!