“Remembering is a chair that it is hard to sit still in.”
Last year, I had the opportunity to attend The Decatur Book Festival with the final session of the day, being one where Sarah Broom was discussing her book, The Yellow House. I had seen the book on bookstagram with intentions to borrow from my library. But when I heard her discuss the book, I changed my mind. Hearing the author speak about the book before hand left me with a better sense of expectation. Broom said at the festival, The Yellow House is the way she felt with her family living in New Orleans East.”
She said writing this book made her into a writer and gave her the opportunity to talk about black lives in an ordinary way, writing from the inside out. She also “puts Hurricane Katrina in context, being one of many events that happens in a family’s life.”
I read The Yellow House in February as my nonfiction book for Black History Month. The book is beautifully written, subtle at times, but familiar and straightforward too. Broom gives context on her place in her large family, and their home in New Orleans East.
I think having this perspective of what life was like and has been like, for Broom and her family, for so many people in communities like New Orleans, who have been displaced but haven’t been helped because of bureaucratic ineptitude, shows us how hundreds of thousands of people are facing similar problems. We examine through the lens of Broom’s family how race and class are still issues that affect us today. There was even a moment when I said, look at how we (black people) are still being treated as INVISIBLE (I was reading Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison while I was reading this).
I visited New Orleans once and can still remember trying to wrap my mind around the aftermath of what happened. Trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I’m standing in the French Quarter and look up to see a huge ship sailing by. Thinking HOW IN THE WORLD did some one think building a city surrounded by water, would not be detrimental the people who live here?
Did you realize Hurricane Betsy devastated New Orleans in 1965? “So awesome was Betsy that her name was retired from the tropical cyclone naming list. Governor John McKeithen vowed on television and on the radio, in front of everybody, that “nothing like this will ever happen again.”
The truth of the matter is, The Yellow House, Broom and her family, are people, who like us, have experienced a variety of events in life. Broom has done an impeccable job of sharing her life with us, the history of her life, in a place she called home.
The Tea: Thank you at Plum Deluxe for the gift of my new favorite tea, a caffeine free, treat in a cup. This Chocolate Hazelnut Dessert Tea is a wonderful blend of rooibos, with hazelnut and chocolate. Pictured above is my latte version of this amazing tea. This cozy setup is in my tea nook where I can spend some time indulging in my favorite forms of self care.