The Characters

Abdulrahman Zeitoun: A hard working Syrian-American man living in New Orleans who owns a contracting business. He decides to stay in New Orleans to ride out the storm, and pays the consequences. Zeitoun rescues several people and thinks it is God's will that he stays and helps during the catastrophe rather than take care of his wife and kids. He is trying to live up to his brother Mohammed's legacy, because he was a very famous swimmer. He gets arrested and is inhumanely treated for something he did not do. He spends several months in jail, and is eventually bailed out. He rebuilds his house and business, but never quite recovers from the trauma he suffered during Hurricane Katrina.

Kathy: Zeitoun's wife, a strong-willed American baptist converted muslim. She runs the family business, and decides to leave with the children before the storm. She stays at a sister's house, but leaves after several days because she does not get along well with her family, who are skeptical of her religion. She stays with a close friend in Phoenix and accepts the death of her husband after not hearing from him for weeks. When she finds out Zeitoun is in jail, she gets him out and together they rebuild their lives. Kathy suffered brain damage and develops several health problems due to the stress of the situation during Hurricane Katrina. 

Ahmad: Zeitoun's brother who lives in Spain. He tracks the patterns of the storm and advises Zeitoun to leave. Throughout the story, he stays in contact with Kathy and does everything he can to help her find Zeitoun.

Nasser: Zeitoun's Syrian friend who he finds while canoeing in New Orleans. He is arrested with Zeitoun under Terrorism and Looting charges. Found with $10,000 in cash, his life savings.

Ronnie: A man who had been using the telephone in Zeitoun's house, and was arrested along with the others for Looting. 

Todd: A man who leases one of Zeitoun's properties and works for the airport delivering lost luggage. Also arrested for Looting, found with maps and addresses in his pockets. 

Yuko: Kathy's childhood friend, and also a converted muslim. Kathy goes to stay with her and her husband after escaping her family's house.