Tuesday, December 8, 2015

From Fiction to Fact

The cover from the 2012 re-release
Now that I've finished giving away all five Million Dollar Mysteries, it's time to supply the final bit of "Insider Info", for The Buck Stops Here. This one isn't light and funny like some of the others, but it is what happened.

The following scene appears in the book, when the character Armand is telling Callie how Louisiana's marshland is disappearing and what sorts of problems that can lead to...

The original cover, from 2004

He said that according to his computer models, if a category-four hurricane with 130-mile-an-hour winds struck from the southwest at 10 miles per hour, the flood wall would be 27 feet high.
“The more the marsh recedes,” he said, “the worse that will be. I’m telling you, two million people would be in danger of flooding, including the entire city of New Orleans. The devastation would be biblical in its proportion.”

My eyes widened. “I had no idea."

Neither did a lot of people. But then, 1 year after that book was released, Hurricane Katrina came along, and we all saw just how prescient Armand's words had been.

Predicting the Future

Many readers of that book have written to ask how I could possibly have known what was going to happen. I tell them that I learned it from my research, that those facts hadn't been all that hard to dig up–and that almost every expert, scientist, and politician in the state of Louisiana had already known the dangers of the disappearing marshland and what effect it could have if they ignored the issue. Of course, knowing about a problem and doing something to fix it are two different matters. 

Everyone talks about the faulty levees, but the lack of a significant marshland buffer was also a huge piece of the problem. And the complete inaction at both state and federal levels in the years prior to the event helped to make Hurricane Katrina–one of the worst natural disasters in our nation's history–even more tragic than it had to be.

Have you ever been through a hurricane? Which one? Was there much damage? Would love to hear about your experience in the comments, below. 


  1. I grew up in Hampton, VA, near the James River. So, we dealt with hurricanes. The odd thing is that when I was a young girl, we always got in the car to ride around and view the damage from the hurricanes. That was really dangerous. Thank the Lord we were safe. We knew not to drive through standing water.
    Then, as an adult, I had breast cancer in 2005, and watched on the t.v. all of the sadness and devastation from Hurricane Katrina. We never experienced a hurricane like that one. So many lives changed forever.

  2. Wow Melissa, thanks for sharing. We did dangerous things too. I can remember as a teenager when a hurricane was on its way, my friends and I put on roller skates and held up big sheets like sails to blow us down the road. Great fun but yikes.

    The biggest one I went through personally was Betsy, when I was about 5. I can remember the noise of it most of all. The next morning, we saw through the window that a tree had crushed our car in the driveway, but when we ran out to get a better look, my brother stepped right inside the curled loop of a water moccasin, resting on our front stoop. Ack! I was right behind him and saw it and screamed, so he took off running. He got away before it struck, thank goodness. After that, we were always super careful after big storms, just in case. Shiver.