One School, One Read

  • Begin: page 100 – “We don't actually knock....”

  • End: page 110 – “…with a broken spine.”


Information for this Section

  • During Hurricane Katrina 80% of the city flooded after levees failed. 70% of New Orleans' occupied housing, 134,000 units, were damaged in the storm. The population of New Orleans fell from 484,674 in April 2000 to 230,172 in July 2006, a decrease of over 50%. By 2014, the population had increased to an estimated 384,320, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, putting New Orleans back on the list of the 50 most-populous cities that year. Take a look at the maps of the damage that the flooding did, 


Discussions Questions

    1. “Folks scared” Mr. Tru mutters under his breath (on page 101), like he’s trying to convince himself. “Why else they ignore us? A man and two child, presenting no threat to none of them?” What does Tru think otherwise?

    2. On page 103, Zane says that it “Doesn’t make sense that no one is willing to help us. Folks were helping survivors get out of Grammy’s drowned neighborhood, like me and Bandy got rescued from the attic, okay? Why not here, where the storm barely did any damage?”
      Why do you think they aren’t getting help?

    3. The behavior of the private security force was difficult to read about. How does the interaction with the security forces make you feel? They are particularly rude and condescending to Trudell, and yet he lets them act this way. Why?

    4. On page 108, the security man says “People resentful of what others might have. So they rise up when the opportunity presents itself. In this case, a flood.” What do you think about this statement? Can you think of other examples of where this has happened? Does the man have a point?



  • Leaves clotted into the intricate trim of front porches, like spinach stuck in their front teeth.” Philbrick uses a lot of descriptive language to give the reader a sense of what the destruction looked like. Look around the room you’re in. Can you use descriptive language to explain what you see?
  • The security force was tasked with retrieving items of importance for their clients. Read abiut them here. If you had to leave your house with nothing, but could send someone back to get 5 things, what would you choose to save? Read about the use of private security firms during Katrina here.
  • Here’s a video of a Coast Guard rescue. The Coast Guard and National Guard played an important role in the rescue efforts. While FEMA and the Red Cross were not prepared, these two organizations reacted much better. Why do you think that is?