05/11/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Paul Sanchez: Taking Back His Life Through Words & Music

As we approach the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I often wonder, as I hope millions of others often wonder, how are all those amazing people who lost their homes and their lives? Have they found a place to live? Have they started over? Are they with their loved ones? Do they still have the will to live? (As you know, soon after, many did not.) I do hope that there are millions with this on their minds. It doesn't have to be at the forefront. I'd be satisfied with placement in their Top Ten. Some days, it feels like it's not even as important as American Idol.

Paul Sanchez knows what it's like to be away from home. When you're a working musician, home is often anywhere you lay your hat. You deal with cold motel rooms, cold food, and cold people. You deal with it because you know that eventually the warmth of your family and your friends and your own bed are always waiting for you.

Almost always.

Paul was on tour when that bitch of a storm came barreling through New Orleans in August of 2005. Paul watched in horror when the levees broke, and flooded his city. We all did. But when the majority of us had seen enough, and we settled in with a cup of tea and a Seinfeld rerun at the end of our day, Paul did not. Paul could not. Not his choice. When we woke up a few days later and put on a pot of coffee, made some breakfast, and got the kids off to school, we forgot temporarily, that arguably the greatest city in all of America was under water. We forgot because we didn't experience it, therefore, it doesn't exist.

I spoke to a good friend of mine on September 12, 2001. I live in NYC. He lives in Los Angeles. The afternoon of September 12, 2001, not a full day after the worst terror attack on American soil, my friend put me on hold as I was telling my 9/11 story. He "didn't realize it was STILL that bad in New York." 24 hours later and he didn't "realize." He's a pretty smart guy and I love him. But COME ON! My friend wasn't here. I gave him some slack, though not much. And we weren't there, in New Orleans. It's easy to forget. Just not for the good, innocent people of New Orleans.

Paul hasn't forgotten.

Paul Sanchez, along with Threadhead Records, has just released "Pieces Of Me," a book of essays written before, during and after the harrowing experience that was Hurricane Katrina. The stories are funny and heartbreaking, personal and disturbing, entertaining and frustrating. Paul shares his sadness and his loss, his denial and his acceptance and most importantly his will to take back his life.

Paul Sanchez continues to make music as well, and his new record "Stew Called New Orleans," a collaboration with his good friend and New Orleans treasure, John Boutte was just released. Together, the book and the CD show remarkable spirit and determination, and show solid evidence why we should be thankful for people like Paul Sanchez.