Zeitoun (McSweeney's Books, 2009), so named for the surname of the main character, is a harrowing, nonfictional tale of biblical proportions—the crux of which takes place in New Orleans immediately following Hurricane Katrina.
Abdulrahman Zeitoun and his wife Kathy are practicing Muslims who own a busy painting company and numerous properties throughout New Orleans. Zeitoun is well-known and heavily utilized, especially at the first warnings of any storm, for in addition to the usual painting jobs his company is regularly called on for the preparatory securing of homes and offices. When Katrina arrives, he feels he cannot abandon the city during its time of crisis. He evacuates Kathy and their four children but is compelled to stay behind. Like a mini version of the flood story, his world is all but drowned. Rather than seeking the protection of an ark, however, this protagonist takes to a second-hand canoe.