When Thea Tamborella returns to New Orleans after a ten-year absence, she finds a city gripped by fear. The privileged white socialites of her private-school days pack guns to fancy dinner parties and spend their free time in paramilitary patrols. The black gardeners, maids, and cooks who work days in the mansions of the elite Garden District return each evening to housing projects wracked by poverty, drugs, and gang violence. The city’s haves and have-nots glare at each other across a yawning racial divide as fear turns to hate and an us-against-them mentality.
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