Much of the story of Hurricane Katrina lived on the internet as the city reconnected during its diaspora. When Cynthia Joyce went looking for one vital account for a course she was teaching, she found the site down and the piece forgotten. This inspired her search for the works that became Please Forward: How Blogging Reconnected New Orleans After Katrina. Some of the writing included is famous and easily obtainable; a good percentage of the work is currently unavailable due to aging servers and broken links. Taken together, these pieces are powerful testament to the New Orleans blogging community who proved the internet could function as a crucial platform in a time of crisis.
"Like a compression of the stages of grief, the chronological progression of the blog posts moves from benumbed description through lashing back (at the national and local governments, the insurance companies, the media that has gotten so much wrong) to a sort of celebration, as residents returned and Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, and the New Orleans Saints resumed. Much of this would be classified as 'citizen journalism,' yet many of the entries are from professional journalists, writing from a perspective more personal than they’d likely commit to print, as well as activists, chefs, musicians, poets, and a wide representation from the cultural gumbo that informs the city." —Kirkus Reviews
"This is an essential document of the state of mind of New Orleanians before and during and after Katrina. It's raw, it's pained, it's outraged, it's heartbroken- all the things it should be."—Dave Eggers, author of Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?
"Please Forward offers a riveting montage of devastated voices waiting to hear from lost family members, waiting to be treated with respect by the outsiders who invaded their city, and waiting to see if there was anything left to rebuild once the waters finally receded."—Heather Havrilesky, author of Disaster Preparedness
"It’s all here: the terror, the confusion, the compassion, the self-absorption, the posturing, the misinformation masquerading as insight — above all the ties that held us together and made recovery possible."—Jed Horne, Author of Breach of Faith, Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City
"[Cynthia Joyce] has brought to light the one thing outsiders could never comprehend, at least until now: the deep emotional scar Hurricane Katrina’s levee breaches left on those who survived the disaster."—Brett Anderson, restaurants critic and features writer, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Cynthia Joyce has been a writer, editor, and web producer for more than 15 years and has contributed to several regional and national publications, including The Washington Post, Newsday, NPR.org, Entertainment Weekly, and MSNBC.com, where she was a senior producer from 2007-2011; Nola.com, where she worked briefly as a producer post-Katrina; and Salon, where she was arts and entertainment editor from 1995-2000. She received her BA from Duke University in 1991, and her Masters of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University in 1993. She joined the Ole Miss faculty in 2011.