New Orleans Journal

 By far the most fun I had at The New Yorker was writing “New Orleans Journal,” a daily (Monday through Friday) column for the magazine’s new website that from January through May of 2007 chronicled life in New Orleans post-Katrina. I had to go out and find something to write about every day, and though none of New Orleans Journal made it into Nine Lives, writing it was a crash course in New Orleans and what I learned writing it helped a lot with the book. New Orleanians loved New Orleans Journal. People actually recognized me on the street and ran up to shake my hand — a new thing for me. It’s been taken off The New Yorker’s website but here it is in five PDFs. Those who read Third-Act Trouble might recognize the voice:

January columns

February columns

March columns

April columns

May columns

As soon as New Orleans Journal was over, so was my career at the New Yorker. I was, as a friend’s father likes to say, out on the street with a cup, dancing. David Remnick simply decided he didn’t like my work anymore and declined to renew my contract.

Embittered? Me? I waited two years and then, over three days, told on Twitter, in 140 characters chunks, the entire story of being hired and fired at the New Yorker.    Twitter is a medium for media-heads and The New Yorker is as secretive as the Kremlin, so I was dishing up red meat to a certain prurient audience. When I started tweeting, I had 25 followers. Within 10 minutes I had 250 and I finished up with more than 2,000. I haven’t used Twitter since.