About What Fresh Hell?


Praised by Publishers Weekly as “a work of provocative and exhilarating populism.”
A decade in the making, the long-awaited “dead tree” edition in a concise, concentrated $14.95 paperback—and now on Kindle (only $7.50). What Fresh Hell? brings together 10 years of blogging on war and peace; politics and society in the Obama and Bush-Cheney years; infrastructure-on-life-support; and the environment in a time of extremes.

The New Orleans–dedicated, New York–based blog Levees Not War was founded in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, and now serves up liberal portions of sharp, spirited writing, grounded in a vision of the social contract—a society held together by honoring the Golden Rule.

Here you’ll find interviews with experts, tributes to activists and civil rights leaders, on-the-scene reporting from Occupy Wall Street, merrymaking with blogger friends in New Orleans, with a dash of burlesquery, and more.

Praise for Mark LaFlaur and Levees Not War

“Mark LaFlaur’s genuine love and concern for the future of Louisiana shines throughout this collection of blog posts and interviews. He also manages to pull the many coastal issues into focus in a very readable way.”

Ivor van Heerden, former deputy director, LSU Hurricane Center, and author of The Storm

“Mark LaFlaur’s Levees Not War has been a clear, progressive voice of warning and hope for New Orleans and the surrounding region in New York and the world since Hurricane Katrina, providing incisive news and commentary on the storm, its aftermath, and the rebirth of his hometown.”

Mark Schleifstein, Pulitzer Prize–winning environment reporter, The Times-Picayune, and coauthor of Path of Destruction

“I think of Mark LaFlaur as New Orleans’s cultural ambassador to New York, and, indeed, to the nation. Mark’s love of the city and culture of New Orleans has motivated him to keep kindred spirits around the U.S. and beyond informed and involved, through spirited writing, blogging, and civic engagement, in the triumphs and troubles of his native region.”

Richard Campanella, author of Bourbon Street: A History and Bienville’s Dilemma

“Mark LaFlaur’s What Fresh Hell? is a great reminder of the power and importance of good writing. It is cathartic, cautionary, and well worth reading.”

Mark S. Davis, director, Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy, and former executive director, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana


“In this collection you will find pieces on hurricanes, Louisiana’s environmental predicament, the BP disaster, and climate change; on infrastructure and public works in a time of job-killing scrooges (with a definite nostalgia for Franklin Roosevelt’s WPA and CCC programs); on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and beyond; plenty about politics, including a mad tea party and half-mute Democrats; blogging and merrymaking with friends in New Orleans, with a dash of burlesquery; on-the-scene reporting from Occupy Wall Street; remembrances of Katrina and 9/11, and tributes to activist leaders such as Medgar Evers, Tom Hayden, John F. Kennedy, and an early founder of Greenpeace. After the interviews with Harry Shearer and experts on the environment and infrastructure, there’s a bibliography to point readers to further sources of information, organizing, and activism. This and much more. Jump in at any point. I hope you enjoy the book—and the blog.” 

—from the Introduction