Dan Baum, writer of acclaimed post-Katrina guide, “9 Lives,” dies at 64

Baum’s 2009 book is described as one of “the most moving – and exciting – books ever written about the economic and social conditions in which we live.”

Dan Baum, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal and New Yorker magazine and Katrina’s most popular magazine, “Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death and Life in New Orleans,” died on Oct. 8. He was 64 years old.

His death was first reported by the Washington Post. A family friend and spokesman said the cause was glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer.

Although Baum’s career spanned decades as a journalist and journalist, it was in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina when he wrote his most famous work.

“One of the most exciting – and exciting – books ever written about the economic and social problems we live in,” author Susan Larson wrote of “Nine Lives” in The Times-Picayune in 2009.

After the book was released, New York Times critics Dwight Garner said it was “probably the most intelligent and helpful new book to date.”

Baum was first quoted from the city on a series of blogs and articles in The New Yorker in a few days of Hurricane Katrina and government failures in August 2005.

He returned in 2007 to begin work on “Nine Nine,” which documented the city through what the Post called a television series that shared the stories of nine people: former Carnival king Bill Grace; team leader Wilbert Rawlins Jr. and his wife, Belinda; Transsexual trading owner JoAnn Guidos; 9th Museum Founder Ronald Lewis; police officer Timothy Bruneau; a small drug dealer Anthony Wells; prosecutor Frank Minyard; and Joyce Montana, widow of Mardi Gras Indian Chief Tootie Montana.

The best-selling book was later converted into a masterpiece and a play by Paul Sanchez. The album featured more than 100 musicians, including some of the city’s most famous celebrities, including Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint, John Boutte and Lillian Boutte, as well as actors Wendell Pierce, Michael Cerveris and Harry Shearer.

Living here and working on the book, Baum fell in love with the city and its people. “I also felt the surprise we all heard in the last days of Katrina: that the United States, with its wealth, its generosity, and its cultural love for this wise little city, stood aside and allowed New Orleans to suffer alone,” he wrote.

But in addition to looking at the tragedy and its impact, Baum was also influenced by the public. The book begins in 1965 with Hurricane Betsy and spans 50 years of life in New Orleans, cultural, political, complex and historical – as narrated by its people.

“I realized that a lot (of Katrina’s), which was included, focused so much on the tragedy that it missed the site,” Baum wrote in “Nine Lives.”

“Before the hurricane, New Orleans was in almost every city in the United States – extreme poverty, massacres, the worst schools, the worst economy, the most deceptive police and brutal police. Orleania – regardless of age, ethnicity, or wealth – was ‘more satisfied’ with their lives than in any other city in America.

In his last blog post in New Yorker in 2007, Baum tried to express his interest in New Orleans, as well as his ambiguous methods.

“It took me a while to realize that New Orleans has no future. There is something there, ”he wrote.

“This is not just idleness or instability; it is an expression of our commitment to enjoy life instead of merely gaining it. Do you want to succeed and work hard? Go to Minneapolis. Don’t expect good times to just go there. ”

Baum was a New Jersey native who graduated from New York University. He worked for a newspaper in Anchorage before moving to Singapore to the Wall Street Journal and then to New York. He also mentioned the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

After he and his wife, Margaret Knox, were married in 1987, they moved to Zimbabwe for three years, opening a branch office and presenting information to media organizations around the world. The two also live and work in Colorado, Mexico and California.

On his website, Baum said he wrote his original essays, but Knox was a key figure in writing: “Everything that comes out under the line of” Dan Baum “is half of Margaret’s work.”

Baum said, “I always wanted to write. I used to publish articles about how other people use the Marine Corps, and I didn’t stay there. In 1987. I met my wife at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. We got married, and the next day we moved to Zimbabwe, where we spent three years. as self-employed workers. Then we moved to Montana for eight years, and we lived in Colorado, Mexico and California. “

In addition to “Nine Lives,” Baum authored three other books, on topics such as drug abuse, Coors’ families and the gun-related culture.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by their daughter, Rosa Baum of Cambridge, Mass .; his father, Sy Baum of Manhattan; it’s a brother.

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