NewsHour Extra Feature Stories
NewsHour Extra feature stories can help students identify and interpret
key issues in current events. This activity anticipates one class period,
but the follow-up essay might be assigned as homework or in another period.
Warm Up: Use
initiating questions to introduce the topic and find out how much your
Have students read NewsHour Extra's feature story and answer the questions
on the reading comprehension handout.
Use discussion questions to encourage students to think about how the
issues outlined in the story affect their lives and express and debate
can write a 500-word editorial on the topic expressing their views and
send it to NewsHour Extra [firstname.lastname@example.org]
for possible publication.
Students are graded on their answers to reading comprehension questions
and/or their editorial.
Survivors of Hurricane Katrina Share Their Stories, 09/12/05
1. Where did Hurricane Katrina strike?
2. What happened to many of the people in the region? Where are they now?
here for printout)
1. What is happening
at the D.C. Armory?
A small group
of those who evacuated the Gulf Coast region and arrived in DC were
teens. Soon after arriving at the Armory, they started attending area
high schools and tried to make do with their unusual circumstances.
Two of the young
men, William, 16, a Louisiana native who preferred not to give his last
name, and 18-year-old Gerard Broussard, also from Louisiana, told their
stories to NewsHour Extra. The stories have been edited for publication.
2. Why did Gerard
Broussard stay in New Orleans?
want to leave because that's their hood. That's where they're from.
Like I said before, I'm a survivor. I could've left but I didn't want
to leave my grandpa. I knew he wasn't going anywhere. Since my grandpa
wasn't running, I wasn't running.
3. When did Gerard
decide to leave?
The day after
the storm, the water was clear, it was green, it was fresh. So me and
my pa, we went swimming. Then the water got darker and darker. It was
stagnant and black. The toilets started backing up. We knew we had to
4. Describe Gerard's
experience at school thus far? What does he want to do?
I started school
at Eastern on Wednesday, but when I'm not there, I'm either going to
watch baseball or learning the neighborhood. I'm going to be here for
a good li'l minute; I'm going to finish the school year, so I figure
that I should learn the neighborhood.
But I don't mind
it. It's a lot bigger and cleaner than my old high school. But you're
like a museum. "Are you from New Orleans? Are you from New Orleans?"
everyone asks you. They let you do whatever you want, but that's okay,
cause then it makes you want to do your work.
5. Where was William
when the storm hit? What happened to his family?
When the storm
hit, I was at my cousin's house for the weekend and I didn't know anything
about it. We were watching TV early in the morning Saturday.
I'd left my house
at 6 that morning. My family, my mom and dad and two sisters, heard
about the storm at 8 and they went straight to Texas. They couldn't
reach me so they told my auntie to watch me. They're in Texas now. I
had called them when I got here. I told them don't worry about me.
6. Where did William
go when the storm hit? When did he decide to leave New Orleans?
When the storm
came, we went to a hotel and stayed at the hotel for six days. I was
with my cousins. We had food and water, but then the hotel flooded.
We were on the second floor watching the water come up. We went outside
on the top porch and watched. On the ground the water was up to my chest.
On the sixth day, we heard that marshals were coming to empty the hotel,
so we left.
7. What has William
been doing since he arrived in Washington, DC? What is he looking forward
I've been to
too many Nationals' baseball games since I got here. People keep giving
us tickets. I'm going to an Eastern game tonight. I think it's between
Eastern High School and Woodson High School.
I'm gonna be
starting at Eastern on Monday. It's better than New Orleans' schools.
That's what I heard. At least I'm in school, but I'm not sure how long
I'll be here. My mom and dad said it's alright for me to go to school.
I play football so I'm looking forward to that most.
8. What is William's
opinion of the news coverage of Hurricane Katrina? How have his opinions
been shaped by his experiences?
They have TVs
on in the armory talking about New Orleans, but I don't look at it.
I don't want to look at it. I don't want to see the bodies I saw. I
saw like five dead bodies. The bodies was swollen from being out in
the hot sun so long. I saw a police officer cover one of the bodies
and just leave it there. They had kids playing by it, playing basketball,
bouncing the ball right next to the body. They were kids though, they
don't even know what's going on.
(more research might be needed):
1. Read Gerard's statement
about the difference between being a survivor and being a looter. Do you
agree with him? Why or why not? What would you have done if you had been
in a similar situation?
"When we were in my grandpa's house, we had to survive. You're
a looter when you're taking stuff you don't need. You're a survivor when
you're taking stuff you need to survive. I took some sardines and canned
goods. ... I was trying to find water. Once I got water, we were straight.
There was eight of us in the house; we had to live."
2. How are families present in the boys' stories? How is this similar
or different to your own family experiences?
3. Imagine that like
Gerard and William, you had to flee your home with few or no possessions.
What would that feel like? How would you like people to treat you? What
would you like to happen long term?
4. Are there Katrina
evacuees in your community? Do they want to tell their stories? If you
are an evacuee with a story to share, or a high school journalist covering
the story in your hometown, send an e-mail to email@example.com