Do you remember where you were 10 years ago when you heard about Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans? I do, and I remember the emotions that went through my mind as I called my parents in Atlanta to find out if they had heard from my family members. It was devastating to know that many of my family in Baton Rouge had no power, no phones, and heavy, damaging winds and rain. But they were lucky. All of them were fine.
As I watched the news, I cried. I knew that my next trip in the spring to Louisiana would be very different. I didn't know what to expect, especially after seeing images like this on the news.
When I did return in April, there were still cars stacked, yes, stacked under I-10 interchanges. There was trash all down I-10. Many restaurants on Bourbon Street were closed or on restricted hours. It was quiet, calm, yet surreal. Nothing would ever be the same.
I just can't imagine what it would have been like to be there 10 years ago. But Julie T. Lamana puts us all there as she tells Armani Curtis's story in Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere.
The storm come and takes out power, as well as trees. Just as things seem to be all right, the flood waters come. And Armani's story changes her life. She ends up having to take care of her siblings and find shelter. Through her courage, she takes care of her family and finds people who can help her.
I cried, and so did my son. His teacher last year knew I was from Louisiana and moved him into the reading group to read this book. We read it together every night, each with our own copy. We talked about it. We looked at pictures. I remembered it for him since he was only a year old when Katrina hit. He cried when Armani's life began to turn upside down, and I cried with him.
For a child, this book is amazing to show how the children of Katrina lived and survived.
10 years ago tomorrow, the residents of New Orleans' lives changed forever. I'll never forget my own feelings as I thought about my family and friends.
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