Thanks for the comment, Wendy. I didn't set out specifically to write an inspirational book, but I hear from readers that the book does work for them on that level. I shouldn't be surprised -- during those difficult months after Katrina, I drew strength from so many New Orleanians, especially the kids and teachers I write about in Sugarcane Academy.
I am looking forward already to #2 because I am really hooked into the hurricane angle of your book. WEll, If it wasn't for the hurricane there would be no book. I can hardly wait to see what comes next. I was so relieved that your wife, Tami, made it safely to Lafayette. I may have to check with my local library in Murfreesboro, TN to see if they have your book on its shelves. I will recommend they buy it if it isn't there.
That was a harrowing trip ... and yet so much easier than what so many people faced. Although I covered Katrina in The Nation and other magazines, I decided that writing in a very personal way about my friends and family would help readers connect on an emotional level. Thanks for commenting and reading -- and especially for contacting your library!
I look forward to reading further. This opening, setting the scene of people powerless to do anything other than wait out the storm, hoping that the city and those residents who remained there would survive, is a gripping look into a recent, massive political failure of will to help citizens in obvious, desperate need.
Thanks, Linda. In Sugarcane Academy, I set out to show how people move from that feeling of powerlessness to a place where they can feel their own power again. It was, as you note, a great political and social tragedy, and one that our great country still must reckon with. (I hope the rebuilding of New Orleans will become a greater campaign issue in the months to come.) For my family and friends after Katrina, establishing a school became central to recovery. The experience underscored the crying need for great public schools and the importance of those schools for communities, in New Orleans and elsewhere.
I can hardly wait for each installment from Suzanne of this book. I too have requested that my local library acquire it. You have given us so much insight into what happened from a social and emotional standpoint. I myself did not know anyone in the area but my heart and prayers have remained with each of you. Thank you for reminding us that even in adversity of great proportions with God's help we can make it through and become stronger better people. May God bless you and your family as time marches on and may this country realize just exactly what a value that each citizen is.
Thanks Renee, I couldn't have said it better. I'm in New Orleans now for the Jazz Fest and I'm reminded again how deep the emotions still run. People here haven't given up, even though they well know the great challenges ... there is still a need to work with the displaced to help them reach a better, more dignified outcome (PTSD is an epidemic among those who went through Katrina). There is still a need to ensure the safety of the levees (I recommend levees.org for more information on that issue). And the restoration of the wetlands remains a major environmental crisis. This summer, my family and I are returning to New Orleans to live, love and continue help rebuild this great American city. Thanks again to all for reading.
As a retired educator, this book was particularly appealing. I truly enjoyed the five selected readings posted on this on-line book club. I found it inspiring and well written. In fact, I have reserved your book at our local library.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Your book sends out a very meaningful awareness! May I wish you continueing success.