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Ninth Ward High School Students Publish Book About Life in NOLA

On Tuesday (5.23), students of George Washington Carver High School came together at Cafe Istanbul in the Marigny to celebrate not the completion of final exams or impending summer vacation plans, but a nationwide literary endeavor that far beat any yearbook inscription. The junior class of the Ninth Ward school toasted the publication of their collective book, History Between These Folds


Together with the local youth mentorship non-profit Big Class and best-selling author Kiese Laymon, the 11th grade students of G.W. Carver penned, edited, and published the book of personal essays and historical reflections over the course of the school year. 


“We are more than the stereotypes that come to mind when you think of the Big Easy,” said G.W. Carver student Corazon Johnston, a leader of the school’s Student Editorial Board. “We are rare and powerful. Our personal histories are American history.”


History Between These Folds is organized into seven sections which highlight the diverse experiences and concerns of the students. The subjects range from observations of life in New Orleans post-Katrina to firsthand experiences with neighborhood violence to poetic retellings of childhood memories. Chapter theme titles include “Parade and Funeral,” “Gone and Here,” “David and Goliath,” and “My Blood and My Enemies.” 


Such extensive self-reflection was “hard work,” said student Veronica Fernandez. “We had to open ourselves up and be vulnerable.” 


The results are compelling testaments to the lives of New Orleans’ young generation. 


“I’ve read the essays in this book at least 10 times each, not because I have to but because I don’t think there is another book like it in the world,” said Laymon. Best known for his work that centers on issues of racism, gender relations, and culture in America — including the books Long Division, Cold Drank, and How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America — Laymon served as a mentor to the G.W. Carver students and wrote the book’s foreword. 


“Carver students have shown us how to build community through memory,” stated Eric Parrie, the teacher at G.W. Carver who oversaw the book project.


In a cultural moment when many New Orleanians are divided over whether the city’s past is being erased or finally corrected, Parrie is proud of his students for their heartfelt work to document their personal experiences. “Our city right now is so consumed with what we remember and how we remember it,” he said. "With their poignant, powerful writing these authors offer a gift to our city and a pathway to compassion."


History Between These Folds is available for purchase here and in local bookstores.


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Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.


Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

Alexis Manrodt

B. E. Mintz

Stephen Babcock

Published Daily