Gumbo in the Big City after the Big Storm.
Big Daddy Lazlo and Gumbo in the Big City before the storm.
Map of Gumbo Yah-Yah's world.
Big Mama Marlo Yah-Yah at her cook pot.
Big Daddy Lazlo Yah-Yah under a cypress tree.
Gumbo and the Little Boy after the Big Storm.

Excerpt From The Book

The resident denizens of Bayou Bienvenue’s little piece of mucky heaven are Mr. Lazlo “Big Daddy” Yah-Yah and Mrs. Marlo “Big Mama” Yah-Yah and their notable family of thirteen, fine young crocodilian children - all of which are boys: Jimbo, Jumbo, Limbo, Lumpo, Hippo, Harpo, Mimbo, Mumbo, Blimpo, Bumpo, Gimbo, Gambo & Gumbo. Proud, that is, for the most part, of everyone except Gumbo. You see, Gumbo is different. Gumbo is blue. He is VERY, VERY BLUE.

Now, it didn’t take poor Gumbo too long to realize that he could NOT possibly have cried enough to flood the WHOLE swamp. And that’s when Gumbo saw that the BIG STORM was coming in really, really fast and the rain from it was making the water get really, really high. That’s when he and his big old mossy log began to float away from Bayou Bienvenue.

The BIG STORM had made the BIG CITY seem sad. It seemed really, really sad. That’s when he also noticed that so many of the people’s homes were under water. Gumbo just knew that that was not the way things were supposed to be. And it was at that moment that little Gumbo forgot all about being so sad for himself about being so very, very BLUE.

So Gumbo said to himself, “That’s my landmark. I must never lose sight of HOPE.” And he set off through the water to see what he could do for the people of the Big City.

So, with the Little Boy on his shoulders, Gumbo swam down to a place called CANAL STREET where the water had stopped right by the back of the Old Part of the Big City. He and the Little Boy then walked over to the beautiful OLD CHURCH near the Beignet Cafe where other people had begun to gather beside the BIG SQUARE.

And you know, in every year since the BIG STORM, Gumbo Yah-Yah the Blue Alligator and the Little Boy still meet down on the bank of the BIG MUDDY RIVER just as the fireflies began to spill out of their leafy daytime beds and into the warm evening air.

And, if you’re really, really lucky, you just might see the two of them as they look out over the swift-moving water and share beignets and chocolate milk by the light of the full moon and watch as the BIG CITY rebuilds itself and grows with HOPE more and more each year.

Supporting These Organizations

The Saint Bernard Project (SBP) is a nonprofit disaster rebuilding organization serving residents in St. Bernard and Orleans parishes. Launched in 2006, SBP’s mission is to remove physical, mental and emotional barriers for vulnerable families, senior citizens and disabled residents who are struggling to recover from the devastation and trauma caused by Hurricane Katrina and, more recently, the Gulf oil spill, so that they can once again flourish. SBP embraces an...


Loyola University New Orleans is a Catholic non-profit institution of higher education whose collegiate roots in the city go back to 1849, preceding its charter as a university in 1912. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 best universities in the South by US News and World Report, Loyola’s goal is to holistically educate and develop individuals who dedicate their lives in service to others. Despite the setback of Katrina, for 5 years the university’s J. Edgar and Louise S....


Archdiocese of New Orleans Catholic Schools lost 21 school campuses to flooding but were the first schools to reopen in New Orleans after Katrina, in January 2006. Since the storm, the Archdiocesan schools have welcomed children of any background – regardless of ability to pay – and now educate over 40,000 students. The quality of education, however, has remained extraordinary: of the 2,785 students graduated from Catholic high schools in 2009, 96% were admitted to college and 2%...


Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans was established in 1974 to preserve the historic neighborhoods and culture of New Orleans. The PRC’s Rebuilding Together program has led to the sustainable rehabilitation of more than 300 historic homes for low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners over the last 5 years in some of the city’s most storm-devastated neighborhoods, such as those of Holy Cross, Gentilly and Tremé. The PRC is a national leader in merging historic...