For those of you who have been fans of Experimental Mommy for awhile now, you are likely aware that Bridgette and I both live in the New Orleans area and survived the major catastrophe Hurricane Katrina. Five years later, most conversations that take place are still peppered with the phrase, “Before The Storm” or “After the Storm.” Katrina damage is still visible in many parts of the New Orleans Metro area, and her emotional scars run deep in anyone who lived through it. You can read a bit about Bridgette’s Katrina Experience here. My experience, although not as severe as Bridgette’s, is not something I like to think about. My grandfather evacuated his home of over 40 years and came home to nothing but a pile of rubble where his home once stood, washed away by the storm surge. My house was spared aside from needing a new roof, but we were away from home and without power for 20 days. When I do think about Katrina, I try to remember to not dwell on the inconveniences I went through, or the horrible uprooting many of my friends and grandfather suffered through, but to think instead of what it was like for those who had nowhere else to go, and when it was over, nothing to come home to.
Author and New Orleans native Beck McDowell does great justice to the most unfortunate victims of the storm in her new book, Last Bus Out. McDowell tells the riveting true story of Courtney Miles, who rescued over 300 people from misery in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Growing up in the Fischer Housing Projects in New Orleans, hardship came second nature to Courtney, who grew up surrounded by blight, poverty, and pain. Despite having a mother who spent most of Courtney’s life in and out of jail for selling drugs, Courtney managed to stay “straight” and avoid the downfalls that cost many of his friends and relatives their livelihood, or even their lives. McDowell’s book outlines the track of Katrina in the days leading up to its landfall, and describes with great detail just how grim the days after Katrina were for some residents of the New Orleans area. With the help of his Fischer Family, Courtney devised a plan to borrow a school bus in order to taxi a number of hungry, dehydrated, and miserable Fischer residents to shelter and safety in the Lafayette, Louisiana Cajundome. After the rescue, McDowell outlines the next chapter in Courtney’s life, which is still in progress today.
I have to make an effort to find time to read nowadays, but found reading this book to be effortless. Although I have background knowledge of the City of New Orleans and Katrina, I didn’t find that to be my “hook” into the book….that was Courtney Miles himself, with what McDowell describes to be his gentle, determined personality. When I finished the book (in 2 days because I couldn’t put it down), I could not wait to go online and find out where Courtney is now and how he is faring after the storm. Thankfully, McDowell recently gave and update on the Facebook page for Last Bus Out. It is my hope and prayer that one day, Courtney will be able to reach all the goals he has set for himself.
Last Bus Out is available as paperback and E-Book at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. If your local bookstore doesn’t have it, ask for it! This is a book you must read and then pass along to everyone you know. We are thrilled that Beck McDowell has offered to give one away to a lucky reader! The winner can choose either a paperback or E-book ! Here’s how to enter:
How to Enter:
1. Check out Last Bus Out and let me know why it piques your interest!
1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and Last Bus Out (10 extra entries).
2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) and @BeckMcDowell on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Unlimited! (You must have over 50 Twitter followers to qualify for unlimited entries!)
3. Subscribe to my blog.
5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.
Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on March 31st. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.