Lower 9 + 10

Junior Communication Design Studio
Fall 2016



For this project, our class was assigned a podcast titled Lower 9 + 10 from This American Life. It was was about the stories of 6 people who were in some way connected to Hurricane Katrina, 10 years after the disaster. Using the transcript, we were to create a book that conveyed a message of our own choosing based off the experiences of these people. I chose to explore the experience of being suddenly uprooted from your home, having to process traumatic experiences, and adjusting to a new life by telling a story from the perspective of a fictional character: Emily. Set in 2020, this book follows the journey of Emily, a teenage girl whose home is hit by a tidal wave. As she and her mom evacuate the city, she finds the transcript of the "Lower 9 + 10" podcast, and, since it is now the only thing she owns, she writes her own story in the margins. She connects to the people's experiences, and they help her process her own. She has a friend named Samantha who sends her postcards from the disaster zone. They offer a different perspective to the disaster and give Emily a glimpse into what her life could've been if she stayed. The book becomes a journal and scrapbook housing three separate but connected narratives.