Like many children’s book authors and illustrators, author Myron Uhlberg and artist Colin Bootman had worked on a book together — “Dad, Jackie and Me” — but never met. Their first face-to-face meeting occurred at the 2006 American Library Association convention in New Orleans.
Like many of the librarians attending the first conference to happen in the city after Hurricane Katrina, they visited the city’s devastated areas and were moved to action. The two teamed up once more for “A Storm Called Katrina.”
The children’s board book follows a young boy named Louis Daniel who wants to play trumpet like his namesake, Louis Armstrong. His family rides out Hurricane Katrina in the neighborhood of Gentilly, only to have their house inundated with water. Louis, his mother and father flee with Louis grabbing his horn. They make it to the Superdome after a harrowing journey through floodwaters.
Once at the Superdome, Louis’s father attempts to locate food and water but Louis and his mother must change seats and Louis fears they will be separated. While sunlight pours down from a hole in the Superdome ceiling, Louis plays his trumpet in the hopes his father will hear. Once the family is reunited, they return home, bringing a new family member — a lost dog — home in the process.
More than just another book on the storm and its aftermaths, the book offers the innocent point of view of a child, reflecting how the storm deeply affected children and their families. Publisher’s Weekly called “A Storm Called Katrina” a “deeply personal…look at a disaster whose ramifications are still being felt.”
Portions of the proceeds from the book’s sales will be donated to the Norman Mayer Library in Gentilly.
The idea for when young Louis plays his trumpet in the Superdome was taken from a photo by Daily Advertiser (Lafayette, Louisiana) photographer John Rowland. Rowland had captured a child playing on the Superdome field in the aftermath of Katrina.