The 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is August 29th. It is quickly approaching and soon the news, radio, TV and other media will be "flooded" (pun on words here) with memories of that day.
Ten years ago, my husband and I who were recently married were living in Chalmette, Louisiana at the time. When we heard the news on that Sunday morning of the storm soon approaching, we decided to evacuate. So, we quickly packed our things and headed to Dallas, Texas to my brother-in-law's residence. We left pretty early on, so luckily traffic congestion wasn't a problem for us. We were glued to the television for the next few days anticipating the storm and the damage it would bring. On August 29th, 2005 the storm made landfall. Not until a day or so later we heard on the news that the levees had broken and our first home in Chalmette was filled with 10ft of water. We also lived near an oil refinery which leaked; we also ended up with oil in our home. However, we were fortunate in that our master bedroom was upstairs. All of our belongings were there and were safe. Many others were not as fortunate as us, like my in-laws and my other brother-in-law and his family. They had one story homes in Chalmette that were completely inundated with flood water and oil. They lost everything! This is definitely a time remembered in this area due to the devastation it brought, but also to how the rebuilding of the city and people's lives came to be.
In lieu of the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, my students and I will begin the year with reading the Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes. Here's a synopsis taken from Amazon of the book.
Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives in a tight-knit community in New Orleans' Ninth Ward. She doesn't have a fancy house like her uptown family or lots of friends like the other kids on her street. But what she does have is Mama Ya-Ya, her fiercely loving caretaker, wise in the ways of the world and able to predict the future. So when Mama Ya-Ya's visions show a powerful hurricane--Katrina--fast approaching, it's up to Lanesha to call upon the hope and strength Mama Ya-Ya has given her to help them both survive the storm.
Ninth Ward is a deeply emotional story about transformation and a celebration of resilience, friendship, and family--as only love can define it.
I began reading this book with my 4th graders at the end of this past school year and the students loved it. So, I thought with the Anniversary of the Hurricane that this would be a great book to begin the year with.
I also just recently created a Hurricane Katrina: Oral History Project posed on TPT. This project contains 13 interview questions and 3 presentation choices. I plan to use this project with my students this coming year. This project will be a great way for students to get insight into the lives of their family members or friends during this time. Most of my students for this coming school year weren't born yet or they may have been born the same year. I am sure it was even more difficult for the mothers who were pregnant at the time and were soon ready to deliver to evacuate during this time.
Hope you'll check it out!