Post-Katrina: Life in America Writing Assignments

I'm pasting in Lillian Bridwell Bowles recent WPA-L post from Baton Rouge.

From: Writing Program Administration on behalf of Lillian B Bowles
Sent: Fri 8/18/2006 11:39 AM
Subject: Post-Katrina, Life in America Writing Assignments

Dear WPA Colleagues,

I met a new first-year writing instructor last weekend who told me that she and her husband are in utter culture shock after their move from another state to Louisiana. The conditions here are still desperate for many Louisianians as we brace for more potential hurricanes. Displaced children
in FEMA trailers are afraid of the sound of running water. My church and the Greater New Guide Baptist Church (predominantly African American) had a series of potluck dinners together to discuss LSU's freshman reading book,
Life on the Color Line, and one of the GNGBC participants said, "We don't need a disaster to see the disasters that have been our children's lives, right here in America."

Now that the academic year is about to begin, I would like to encourage you to have your students write about real-world problems and solutions. The number of college students who have come here from other colleges and
universities to work on Katrina relief is in the scores of thousands. We could use more. If your students want to come to volunteer, I can connect them with people who provide housing and arrange the work.* --Lilly

Some possible reading and viewing:

Bayou Farewell: The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana's Cajun Coast by Mike Tidwell (first-hand account of a Tidwell's quest to see south Louisiana before it washes away (written pre-Katrina)
Marsh Mission by Rhea Gary and CC Lockwood (art and photography), LSU Press (a little pricey, but a must-have for the visually oriented who want to see and read about the loss); see also the website

PBS: Washing Away Louisiana Announcement:
This is to let you know of an upcoming LPB and PBS television documentary that I think will be of interest to you. Christina Melton, an award winning Louisiana Public Broadcasting producer has completed a powerful documentary that will air within Louisiana on public broadcasting stations on the one-year anniversary of Katrina on August 29, 2006 at 8:00 p.m. It will air again in Louisiana on September 3, 2006 at 4:00 p.m.

For those of you outside of Louisiana, Washing Away will air nationally on September 7, 2006 at 8:00 p.m. CST (9:00 p.m. EST).
Washing Away: Losing Louisiana – the story of Louisiana's disappearing coastline and how this unfolding crisis affects all of America - is told through the eyes of people affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It is narrated by academy award winner, Susan Sarandon.

You can see a preview of the Washing Away at the following link. Scroll down to the bottom of the poster at the link and you can see a preview of the documentary.
If you have the time, it would help if you could spread the word to your friends and contacts around the United States about this documentary.

Washing Away is a very powerful story that will help people to understand the depth of the connection between our south Louisiana culture, economy, and ecology.

Warm regards,
Kerry M. St.Pé, Program Director
Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program

*Megan Greely
University Presbyterian Hurricane Relief Coordinator
Work: 225-344-7695
Fax: 225-383-3495

Lillian Bridwell-Bowles
Director, Communication across the Curriculum (CxC)
Professor of English
1196 Pleasant Hall (CxC); 237F Allen (English)
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
225-578-7843 (CxC); 225-578-3166 (English)
Fall Office Hours: TWTH 3-5, 1196 Pleasant Hall, other times by
appointment in 237F Allen (non-teaching semester)