Louisiana Children's Museum Introduces Katrina Voices Storytelling Project and Exhibit

New Orleans' Youngest Citizens Share their Journeys of Personal Growth, Love and Resilience 10 Years Following Hurricane Katrina

Aug 13, 2015, 15:20 ET from Louisiana Children's Museum

NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Louisiana Children's Museum, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, has introduced Katrina Voices, a storytelling project and exhibit now on display throughout August. Katrina Voices shares the reflections of 24 children from Orleans, St. Bernard and Jefferson parishes who were ages 4-11 at the time of Hurricane Katrina, and today, are ages 14-21. Their individual stories portray journeys of personal growth, love and resilience ten years following Hurricane Katrina.

"When disaster hits, the news coverage is generally delivered by and for adults. We wanted to hear the voices of our youngest citizens," said Julia Bland, CEO of the Louisiana Children's Museum. "Katrina Voices explores the experiences of young children, captured a decade later. The threads of community, family and hope that are woven throughout their stories are valuable insights for those of us who work with children and families." 

The Katrina Voices storytelling project is presented as a 14-minute video that captures a unique and moving perspective of the Hurricane Katrina experience through the eyes of children who are now teenagers and young adults. Dr. Valerie Wajda-Johnston, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Tulane University School of Medicine, conducted more than 20 hours of interviews. The interviews revealed that, while the children of New Orleans and surrounding parishes faced great adversity and uncertainty following Hurricane Katrina, many emerged with a resiliency that has shaped their outlook, attitudes and ambitions for the future.

"Many of the young men and women who shared their stories recounted how important the support of the adults in their lives was, from maintaining as normal of a routine as possible, to giving them information about the loss and destruction in ways that they could handle and process as children," said Dr. Valerie Wajda-Johnston. "They also shared a sense of hope about the future, for themselves and the city. Among other qualities, the support and future orientation contributed to the resiliency of these young adults."

In addition to the Katrina Voices featured video, Museum-goers can express their thoughts on New Orleans culture and the meaning of a resilient New Orleans and fill the Promise Tree with "leaves of hope" for the future. An interactive map of the Greater New Orleans area, hand painted by local artist Katie Rafferty, invites visitors to add symbols of what is unique to the region's culture and nearby communities.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and subsequent disasters changed the Museum's course and approach to addressing community needs, particularly the social-emotional needs of young children.

In the 10 years following Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana Children's Museum has invested 26,835 hours of paid staff time to bring enrichment programs to students in public schools and children in Head Start centers. Approximately 14,125 students have participated in the Museum's Play Power program each week – at their school or center. Moreover, 34,590 books have been given to children for their personal libraries in concert with literacy programs involving parents and teachers. In 2015, the Museum was awarded the Institute of Museum and Library Services National Medal for significant contributions to the community, innovative approaches to public service, and exceptional community outreach.

To learn more about the Louisiana Children's Museum and the Katrina Voices storytelling project and exhibit, visit www.lcm.org.

Video - http://youtu.be/E2KQeKkaWwM

For Information, Contact:
Leslie Doles, ldoles@lcm.org

SOURCE Louisiana Children's Museum