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Event highlight: Writer delves into the world of post-Katrina education

Former Times-Picayune reporter Sarah Carr unveils a new book at a talk and signing today. Hope Against Hope: Three Schools, One City and the Struggle to Educate America's Children is a study of a student, a new teacher, and a principal in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Carr's non-fiction debut provides a vivid portrait of education in America in the 21st century.

The narrative draws portraits of three post-Katrina residents and their struggles. Geraldlynn is a lively, astute 14-year-old. Her family, displaced by Katrina, returns home to find a radically altered public education system. Geraldlynn's parents hope their daughter's new school will prepare her for college, but the teenager has ideals and ambitions of her own.

Aidan is a fresh-faced Harvard grad drawn to New Orleans by the possibility of bringing change to a flood-ravaged city. He teaches at an ambitious charter school with a group of newcomers determined to show the world they can use science, data, and hard work to build a model school.

Mary Laurie is a veteran educator who becomes principal of one of the first public high schools to reopen after Katrina. Laurie and her staff find they must fight each day not only to educate the city's teenagers, but also to keep the Walker community safe and whole.

Carr will be on hand to discuss her book Thursday, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania Street. A portion of all proceeds from sales will go to Partnership for Youth Development, and C-Span will be on hand to film the event for BookTV.