Tag Archives: Dave Eggers

House painter Abdulrahman Zeitoun turns horrific post-Katrina experience into positives with loving acceptance

By Peter Finney Jr.

Not that citizens of the Greater New Orleans area need any encouragement to reflect again on a life-changing event, but the sixth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina will arrive later this month – Aug. 29.

House painter Abdulrahman Zeitoun, who rescued stranded neighbors in his canoe after Hurricane Katrina, says he holds no malice toward authorities who arrested him after the storm.

The hope is it will arrive uneventfully and leave with little more than a whimper.

At the recent Social Action Summer Institute at Loyola University New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian-born New Orleans house painter, transfixed his audience by relating his incredible odyssey in the days and months after Katrina.

As chronicled in “Zeitoun” by Dave Eggers – which now has been translated into 20 languages – Zeitoun had spent the days after Katrina rowing his canoe through flooded Uptown streets and rescuing stranded neighbors.

In a classic case of “no good deed going unpunished,” military personnel arrested Zeitoun a few days after Katrina while protecting his own home near Claiborne and Napoleon Avenues. Continue reading