Royal Street isn't a bad book. It's a little slow and flat, but otherwise totally passes muster. It's definitely not the best urban fantasy I've read recently but not the worst. If you want to avoid a rant please stop reading here.
Why is is that so many authors like to write damaged heroines and then sugar coat them? DJ has been abandoned by her father at the death of her mother, then abandoned by her grandmother due to her magic. Her new guardian is a single man with no prior history with her. In this new situation magic is all important and she doesn't have the right kind, relegating her to a second class citizen. She's now all grown but still working for her guardian. She shows no abandonment or trust issues even though she mentions multiple times that she would like to work things out with her father and grandmother, proving that she's never worked through these problems. Here's my standing invitation to all authors. If you want to write damaged heroines, don't be too chicken to write them as they are. Don't put a tragic back story on a normal girl and expect it to hold water. Show us fractured, broken women who learn to be strong in spite of, and sometimes because of, what happened to them.
Now that that's out of my system I can say that I really enjoyed Johnson's take on New Orleans and Katrina. Never having been there I didn't really understand the devastation and Royal Street really opened my eyes.