Jed Horne


Jed Horne is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, editor and book writer. He has been based in and around New Orleans since the late 1980s. Reporting and lecturing assignments have taken him throughout Latin America as well as to Japan, Europe and Africa.

Horne was born and educated in New England and began contributing articles to alternative weeklies in the Boston area before graduating from Harvard in 1970. In 1973 he moved to New York City where he sifted the slush pile at The Paris Review while supporting himself as a writer and editor for Time Inc.’s magazine development department, chiefly focused on launching People Weekly and reviving Life as a monthly.

In 1988, he and his wife and sons moved to New Orleans, where he pursued a growing interest in daily journalism by taking a job with The Times-Picayune. The family relocated to Central America for a couple of years in the early 1990s after which Horne returned to the Times-Picayune and served for 20 years as city editor. He was among staffers awarded two Pulitzers for coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

Horne’s account of the disaster, Breach of Faith (Random House 2006, 2008), was reviewed on the front cover of the NY Times Sunday Book Review and was declared “the best of the Katrina books” on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” It was a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Award. An earlier book, Desire Street, (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2005) about a Louisiana Death Row case, was a finalist for the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, also for the Edgar, awarded by the Mystery Writers of America.

Following his retirement from The Times-Picayune in 2007, Horne helped to start The Lens, an online investigative website, focused on New Orleans. Horne’s articles and essays have appeared in Vanity Fair, The Guardian, The New Republic, The Washington Post, The Village Voice, Life, People, Institutional Investor and other periodicals.

Horne has appeared on a wide array of radio and television talk shows including “Good Morning America,” Terry Gross’s “Fresh Air,” Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now,” and shows hosted by Tavis Smiley, Rachel Maddow, Henry Rollins, Charlie Rose and Al Franken. He was featured in a documentary about the Fukushima tsunami and reactor meltdown that aired on Japan’s public television network, NHK, as well as in Australia and the United States. In 2010, following the catastrophic blowout aboard British Petroleum’s Macondo platform in the Gulf of Mexico, Horne was hired as a consultant to the report prepared by the Obama administration’s National Oil Spill Commission.

Horne was for many years chairman of the board of YA/YA (Young Aspirations, Young Artists), a New Orleans nonprofit that has helped guide talented young people, typically minority kids from low-income backgrounds, into careers in the arts. In semi-retirement, Horne prefaced a republished edition of The Second Battle of New Orleans, the account by the late Bill Borah and Dick Baumbach of the fight to kill plans for an expressway along the French Quarter riverfront. He also writes politically tinged fiction published under a pseudonym.

Horne’s two sons and their wives and children live in New York City and in Bogota, Colombia. He and his wife, Jane Wholey, a retired community organizer and media consultant, divide their time between homes in southern Mississippi and in southwestern Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains.

He can be reached by email at


Breach of Faith

– Random House

Hurricane Katrina shredded one of the great cities of the South, and as levees failed and the federal relief effort proved lethally incompetent, a natural disaster became a man-made catastrophe. City editor of New Orleans’ daily newspaper, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Times-Picayune, Jed Horne had a front-row seat on the unfolding drama of the city’s collapse into chaos and its epic struggle to recover and survive. His chronicle is a braided narrative of lives drawn from all across the social, economic and political spectrum: rich, poor, black, white, the powerful and their victims.

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Desire Street

– Farrar, Straus & Giroux

In this searing dissection of a New Orleans capital case, Jed Horne investigates the 1984 murder of a white housewife and the black man who spent 14 years on Death Row, convicted of a crime that may have been an intricately plotted act of revenge by a rival for his wife’s affection.

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© 2020