Louis Proby is an old man now, sitting in his study in New Orleans awaiting what they say is a huge storm, Hurricane Katrina. As he watches the skies darken, he remembers his earlier life, as a watchful, curious young man filled with hunger and desire in Cypress Parish, the life that was washed away when the Mississippi River flooded in 1927. He remembers exactly how the Parish was sacrificed to those waters--because the city fathers said it was expendable. They said that flooding Louis's home was necessary to save New Orleans. He has long known that was never the truth. The Parish could have been spared. And he has always known the part his father played in that decision. But what he thinks on now is the dearest cost extracted from him on the day they dynamited the dikes and let the waters flow. He thinks on his first love, Nanette Lancon.