Ninth Ward

Ninth Ward

Jewell Parker Rhodes

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 0316043087

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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.

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black robes look like they’re gliding on ice. One of them waves at me. Sister Margaret. She likes school, too. Especially English when we’re discussing stories, instead of diagramming sentences. The ghosts look distracted by the silence, the empty halls. Mostly, they keep their heads bowed low. I walk the halls, looking for Miss Johnson. She is my favorite teacher by far. Miss Johnson is packing a box. The classroom is empty, and she’s packing her pictures of her momma and poppa and

Prayed. A few nights later, you were born. Mama Ya-Ya did let me bury her when she passed on, though. Have you visited her grave?” I shake my head. I don’t tell him that her ghost is upstairs. “Let me know if you ever want to go. I’ll take you and Mama Ya-Ya to pay your respects.” He opened the screen door, stepping down the stairs. “Where?” I say, pushing open the door. “St. Louis Cemetery, number 2. They have a section for indigents.” The sun is three o’clock in the sky. The hurricane,

Ya-Ya. Sweat is draining from her face. She’s too hot. There’s nothing I can do. She’s lying on her side, her eyes wide like she can see things that aren’t there. I want to talk with her but I’m not sure she can hear me. Or, if she can, she gives no sign. I turn off the flashlight. One night. Just one night in the attic, I tell myself. I don’t tell TaShon the water is still rising. Instead, I ask him, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “A golfer.” I almost laugh. The Ninth Ward

tell me a secret. He whispers: “Do you know why there’s air?” “So you can breathe,” I answer. He nods. “So we can live,” he says. “Can’t see it, but it’s always here.” He sucks in air, and his cheeks hollow like a skeleton. “Inside.” He points at his chest. Then, he opens his mouth wide, and blows his air out like he’s pretending to be the big, bad wolf. He grins and laughs loudly. Me and Andrew high-five. See, Andrew’s smart. Different smart. The ghost puts up a hand for a high five, but I

first of the month, we’ll feel rich (have fresh shrimp and hot andouille sausage); on the second, we’ll be poor again. “Is Mama Ya-Ya planning on a hurricane?” asks Mr. Ng. “Weatherman says big hurricane coming to Florida.” “She says a storm’s coming. Told me we had to prepare.” “Mama Ya-Ya’s ghosts say so? Prepare? Storm’s coming to New Orleans? Or hurricane? Her ghosts say which?” Mr. Ng understands ghosts. He told Mama Ya-Ya that Vietnam was filled with them. From time to time, the two of

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