Information for this Section:
- The Louisiana Superdome (which is now known as the Mercedes-Benz Superdome) was used as a "shelter of last resort" for those in New Orleans unable to evacuate from Hurricane Katrina when it struck. Approximately 9,000 residents and 550 National Guardsmen rode out the night in the Superdome as Katrina came ashore. The number of people taking shelter in the Superdome rose to around 15,000 to 20,000 as search and rescue teams brought more people to the Superdome from areas hit hard by the flooding.
- The description of sewer smells in this story are a result of the fact that toilets and sewer systems, when flooded, do not drain. All of the waste and sewage in them gets washed back into pipes, and up into homes and buildings.
On page 117, Trudell has memories of the Superdome as a “shelter of last resort” from other Hurricanes. If the city had experience with the situation before, why do you think it was still offered as a solution in this case? What is “Shelter of last resort”? Read this article for more information.
Does the Superdome sound like a safe place to go? Why did people continue to go to the site? After viewing pictures of people at the Superdome or waiting in line at the Superdome how would you have felt if you were there?
- It was hard to travel to the Superdome for many reasons. One reason was because Zane and Malvina had to help Tru walk. Zane described the experience like this:
“No choice but to keep moving, slow as that might be with an old man limping, and two kids trying to hold him up, and a little dog that doesn’t understand why the humans are unhappy. Our eyes stinging with the stench of filthy water, bugs eating us alive in the fearsome heat.”
Have students partner in groups of three. Time how long it takes for each group to walk from one side of them room to the other. Now have each group stand shoulder to shoulder. The middle person will now use the other two team members for support. Have the middle person place his or her arms around the shoulders of the two other children for while he or she lifts one leg up. Time the students again to see how long it takes for them to travel from one side of the room to the other while assisting each other. What was the difference in time? How difficult was it?
- Tru, Malvina and Zane decide to take shelter in a small garden shed. It is only big enough to fit a lawn mower or two. “Mr. Tru keeps hold of Bandy’s leash while I drag the mower and rakes and stuff out of the shed. Malvina gets busy with a shovel, clearing out the stinky mud. She’s moving so fast I can’t hardly keep up with her, and by the time the last of the day light fades from the sky we’re jammed inside that little shed. Three people and a dog, and glad to be there. Glad to be anywhere other than out in the black darkness of the drowned city.” A garden shed like the one described is about 8’x8’ square. Try taping off that size space and having kids sit in the space during the reading.
- In the story the characters eat MREs. MRE stands for Meal, Ready-to-Eat and is currently the main individual operational ration for the U.S. military. MREs are meant to be completely self-contained meals that provide all the nutrition a solider-on-the-go needs to sustain him/herself. This is a food often given to displaced people or those in situations where other food is not available. Try an MRE or other canned food item(like Spam) that is not heated.