Publisher:  University Press of Mississippi

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Hurricane Katrina tore into Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, raking away lives, buildings, and livelihoods in a place known for picturesque coastal views, its laid-back, artsy downtown and its southern cordiality. The tragedy also revealed the inner workings of a community with an indomitable heart and profound neighborly bonds.

Those connections often brought out the best in people under the worst of circumstances. In Under Surge, Under Siege, Ellis Anderson - who rode out the storm in her Bay St. Louis home - offers stories of generosity, heroism, and laughter in the midst of terror and desperate uncertainty.  The reader is led into the eye of Katrina itself and through three years of grinding aftermath, when the plucky community faces unforeseen threats unleashed by the storm.

A blend of memoir, personal diary, and journalism, Under Surge, Under Siege creates a compelling and uplifting testament to the strength of the human spirit.


About the cover

The painting used for the front cover is a multi-media creation by Mississippi artist H.C. Porter.  It’s based on a photograph of the author taken by Joe Tomasovsky on the afternoon of Katrina (8/29/05).  In chapter eight of the book, Anderson describes the image:

Before we began our expedition, Joe took a photograph of me in front of my house.  I look at it now, hardly recognizing myself.  The woman in the picture is at least seventy and has been hanging out in a wind tunnel.  There’s a wry smile on my exhausted face, but there’s relief there too.  I thought the worst was over.  I was wrong.

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2012 Short-listed for International Saroyan Book Prize by Stanford University LIbrary

2011 Winner of the Mississippi Library Association’s Author’s Award for Non-Fiction

2010 Winner of the Eudora Welty Prize awarded by Mississippi University for Women

portions of this book were also awarded a Mississippi Arts Commission Fellowship for literary excellence

“There are many Katrina books, but for literary flair, Under Surge, Under Siege has no equal...  This is superior stuff, artfully laid down without any pretense.”

John Sledge, the Mobile Press-Register