Almost two and a half years on from tragedy, New Orleans is not that model of recovery promised by the president via live television feed. The city remains a deflated version of itself, economically and demographically. But spiritually and artistically, the residents of New Orleans refuse to submit or capitulate.

Chronicling the stutter-start rebirth of the city through its art and literature is the task the journal Constance assigns itself. A diverse collection of painting, graphic design, photography, poetry and other creative writing, Constance provides a wide-angle view of the Big Easy, highlighting voices and perspectives that melted from popular view when the cameras left and the cleanup began, but from which the city has always earned its renown.

Given the subject, New Orleans, and the theme, “Delicate Burdens,” the content isn’t all crayfish plates and jazz funerals. The reactions and ruminations are pissed and perplexed, resigned, salty and defiant. There’s no precise accounting for all the content, but again, it’s the range that gives the book life.

Grade: A-

Constance is currently available. For more information, visit