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Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Ninth Ward - Jewell Parker Rhodes

  The story "Ninth Ward" by Jewell Parker Rhodes is about a girl named Lanesha that was born with a caul on her face. She has the eye sight to see ghosts and spirits. Her mother died while she was giving birth to her. So a lady that helped birth Lanesha, her name is Mama Ya-Ya. She is a wise old woman that helps mothers birth their kids. She also sees things before they happen like the future. One day when Lanesha was turning 13, her and Mama Ya-Ya celebrated her birthday with just the two of them. They did her favorite things and made her favorite foods. It was a really great day. Everyday when Lanesha sees her mom, she always feels like that she is always there but she really wants her there like in human form instead of ghost. When she was a child she always talked to her mom's ghost and gets frustrated when she doesn't answer. But now she just talks to her for comfort. The next day at school, she just remembered how the students treat her. They fun of her because she is a black girl with nice brown skin with yellowish green eyes. They say that she looks like a witch because of her eyes. Other people at her school get fun of too. Like a boy named TaShon. He is shorter than the rest of the boys and some of the girls. He is always quiet, people think that he is shy and anti-social. While she was at school on her way home one of the most popular girls, Ginia. She really likes Lanesha because she has nice skin and eyes. They are somewhat friends but not close. As the days pass by Mama Ya-Ya gets spooked out because of her dream. Her dream tells her things before they actually happen in real life. So as she woke up, she warned Lanesha that a big strom was coming soon and that its a hurricane called Katrina. Lanesha felt calm but scared at the same time. She didn't know what to do. As she went to the store to get stuff for the hurricane (food, water, batteries, flashlights, etc.), people were looking at a big TV. On the big TV they were watching the news. On the news there was a newscaster on TV talking about the weather. He was telling people that hurricane Katrina was coming soon towards New Orleans, Louisiana, but at that moment it was on the Gulf. As the days goes by, Mama Ya-Ya gets more and more afraid and stressed because her dreams were warning her to be prepared because something big and dangerous was coming their way, but it wasn't telling her exactly what was going on. On one of the most hottest days of the week before the hurricane struck, as Lanesha was on her way home, three boys were ganging up on a boy. As she got over there, she realized that it was TaShon protecting a little puppy, looked like a German Shepard puppy. As the boys left, she checked on how TaShon was doing to see if he was okay.  After that was over, the puppy fell in love with both of them. So TaShon decided to name him Spot. But he knew that his mother wouldn't let him keep the dog, so he decided to ask Lanesha if she can keep him but they would share the dog. Even though she didn't want to do it she accepted his request.

As the storm gets closer and closer, Mama Ya-Ya gets more and more worried. As they look at the weather channel on the TV, the newscaster looks scared and is warning people in New Orleans to evacuate because hurricane Katrina was coming that evening. Mama Ya-Ya was more worried than ever. As the night was getting close, TaShon asked if Lanesha and Mama Ya-Ya was going to the super dome for shelter, but they were staying right there in their house. He told her to take care of everyone including the Spot. So as the night falls the hurricane takes place. Their house keeps shaking and shaking. Their roof almost comes off. As the storm passes, Lanesha and Mama Ya-Ya were all together protecting each other from falling objects in the house. As hurricane Katrina passed Lanesha doesn't feel like looking outside because of the storm the night before. So Spot needed to go outside so she just decided to fed up and take him outside. As she looked outside, she saw trees broken down, trash all over the place, buildings with roofs torn off. She couldn't bare to see her only neighborhood like it is. As she walks inside, TaShon comes running towards her and Spot. TaShon told her that the super dome's roof flew off and everyone started to run and get out of hand. So TaShon decided to run back home because he knows that his parents would come back to look for him. After he told Lanesha his story, she recognized that water was rising quickly and that they had to go inside quickly. Once they came back inside, Mama Ya-Ya told them to go to the attic and get plenty of food and water for them for the night. As Lanesha gets prepared, TaShon and Spot goes up to the attic while Mama Ya-Ya gives Lanesha something that was really important to her. She gives her a necklace that she has had since she can remember. She also told her that her time was almost up so she gave it to her for her to always remember her and that she can have her in her heart. As they walk up to the attic, the water enters the house and it is almost to the attic. As the water appeared in the attic, Mama Ya-Ya passed away. But as the water got into the room, Lanesha, TaShon and Spot makes their way towards the roof. As they get on the roof, Lanesha spots a boat and as they all get in the boat they are in the boat for at least two more days until they find help. And in the end Lanesha and TaShon became best friends.