New Orleans East is, for the most part, invisible in travelogues and mostly unknown to tourists and natives alike, despite its prominence in the geography of New Orleans. It's suffered from negligence long before and after Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the city and its surrounding area 14 years ago. But this is a classic American story, and Sarah M. Broom grapples with the reality of it in her debut memoir, The Yellow House, out now, from Grove Atlantic.

The memory of Broom's childhood home has followed her well into adulthood. It's rooted itself firmly in her consciousness and her work, forcing her to contend with what it means to be connected to a place that doesn't exist anymore. After Katrina hit New Orleans, the 'Yellow House', a shotgun that Broom's mother, Ivory Mae, bought in 1961 and raised 12 children in, was demolished after being deemed unsafe for habitation by the city. The house and its absence became a symbol of both physical and emotional displacement for Broom, reflecting the reality of many who suffer at the hands of systemic neglect. Broom's recollection of memories, including ones from those who came before her, is woven into The Yellow House in a narrative that concurrently grants insight into her own family ties and a system fraught with injustice and inequality that has been affecting communities ensnared in systems of race and class for generations.

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