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Mardi Gras almost didn't come this year
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Publishers Weekly Review
Price (The Bourbon Street Musicians) sensitively explores the lasting impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans through a view of one Black Louisiana family. Residing in "Aunt Henny Peck's old shotgun house" since their home was damaged in Katrina's storm and flood, siblings Lala and Babyboy long for "a thousand beignets, sweet bakes, King Cakes." But though "it's Mardi Gras weather," they fear that the holiday is "not coming, ever." Disappointed when their mother, once "the most fancy-dancy of the ball," doesn't embrace the season, Lala and Babyboy revisit their devastated neighborhood and cry at "the smell of rotting water; houses that once stood proud, bowed under decaying wood or disappeared." When Lala decides to resurrect Mardi Gras for her brother, their parents join in, and revelry returns to Bourbon Street and St. Charles Avenue in an act of familial and communal resilience that focuses on rebuilding. Mixed-media illustrations by artist Williams, making his debut, give overlapping meanings to the characters' conflicting emotions--sorrow and celebration, frustration and hope--in layered, saturated backdrops that commemorate the reality and festivity of life in the Big Easy. Back matter includes a highly useful glossary of terms for readers unfamiliar with the intricacies of Mardi Gras. Ages 4--8. (Feb.)
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