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Sugarcane Academy : How a New Orleans Teacher and His Storm-Struck Students Created a School to Remember
by Michael Tisserand

Overview - Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, taking lives and livelihoods and displacing thousands. Because the hurricane struck at the beginning of the school year, the city's children were among those most affected. Michael Tisserand, former editor of the alternative cultural newspaper Gambit Weekly, evacuated with his family to New Iberia, Louisiana.  Read more...

 
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More About Sugarcane Academy by Michael Tisserand
 
 
 
Overview
Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, taking lives and livelihoods and displacing thousands. Because the hurricane struck at the beginning of the school year, the city's children were among those most affected. Michael Tisserand, former editor of the alternative cultural newspaper Gambit Weekly, evacuated with his family to New Iberia, Louisiana. Then, rather than waiting to find out when--or if--schools in New Orleans would reopen, Tisserand and other parents persuaded one of his children's teachers, Paul Reynaud, to start a school among the sugarcane fields. So was born the Sugarcane Academy--as the children themselves named it--and so also began an experience none of Reynaud's pupils will ever forget. This inspiring book shows how a dedicated teacher made the best out of the worst situation, and how the children of New Orleans, of all backgrounds and races, adjusted to Katrina's consequences.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780156031899
  • ISBN-10: 0156031892
  • Publisher: Harvest Books
  • Publish Date: July 2007
  • Page Count: 184

Series: Harvest Original

Related Categories

Books > Education > Elementary
Books > Education > History

 
BookPage Reviews

Restoring normalcy after the storm

Sugarcane Academy begins as the tale of a one-room schoolhouse created to educate children who were forced to flee as Hurricane Katrina approached. But it evolves into a broader account of how residents of New Orleans struggled to find safety and stability after the storm disrupted, and in some cases destroyed, their lives. A handful of parents, including author Michael Tisserand, provided some stability for their children by opening the schoolhouse near a sugarcane field, which the students named "Sugarcane Academy." The school became the eye of the storm, a place where children could continue to learn how to read and write, and also reflect on their experiences related to the hurricane. Taught by an innovative teacher named Paul Reynaud, the children share their fears of the recent past and their optimism for the future through discussions, journals and art projects.

A journalist by trade, author Tisserand goes in search of the experiences of other hurricane evacuees. His quest takes him to a temporary shelter inside a domed sports stadium, where families sleep on cots and eat bag lunches while trying to figure out where they will live next. He returns to New Orleans to examine the death and destruction experienced by the victims, including neighbors and close friends. And he finds others who were inspired to create schools like Sugarcane Academy to educate their children until the troubled New Orleans school system could reopen.

Through his personal account, the experiences of his two children and the stories of people he encounters, Tisserand is able to accomplish what the extensive news coverage could not: He puts a human face on the tragedy, allowing readers to better understand the experiences of the victims of Katrina.

John T. Slania is a journalism professor at Loyola University in Chicago.

 
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