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THE COLLECTION is a hybrid prose manuscript, built around the anachronistic and non-linear linking of separate short stories and/or chapters, and centered upon a recurring cast of characters and settings. Some of the work deals with the complexities of post-disaster identity in the gulf south, and the ways in which Hurricane Katrina provided a physical and psychological landscape for stories about isolation, myth, family and loss. In this way, the work is centered on place-conscious issues, and in a broader sense, is about the reclamation and diversification of potential voices and stories from this particular place and time. Since 2005, Katrina has largely overwritten the identity of New Orleans and the gulf south, defined now by easy metrics of rebuilding, platitudes about faith, and sound-bytes about the cultural conditions and structural forms of oppression that this particular natural disaster helped reveal to the national consciousness. While some of this consciousness is a positive step, it is also a continuation of the exoticism and magical-thinking that already helped to obscure life in New Orleans and the gulf south prior to the storm, and has lead to a trend of outsiders from the region speaking for it. As a native of New Orleans, these works are then my attempt at giving an authentic voice to characters and situations born from my own experience, and from those of friends and family in the region.^
Houck, Gabriel A, "The collection" (2016). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI10090294.