Rosalyn Story

Rosalyn Story, the Lake Highlands resident whose book Wading Home inspired an upcoming opera

Exceedingly talented and generous neighborhood residents Mary Alice Rich and Rosalyn Story are collaborating on a creative project to honor and remember survivors and victims of Hurricane Katrina.

In commemoration of the 10-year anniversary of the flooding of New Orleans and South Louisiana, Dallas composer Mary Alice Rich created an opera called “Wading Home” based on Lake Highlands resident Rosalyn Story’s book of the same title.

Mary Alice Rich

Mary Alice Rich

The two-act opera launches in Louisiana in mid-September and will run one night only, Sept. 15, at Dallas City Performance Hall. (Details below.)

Guests of honor will include subjects of our August 2015 feature about Katrina survivors who relocated to Lake Highlands. (Rich contacted us after reading the piece; we helped her get in touch with the survivors we interviewed.)

“I responded with many emotions from sadness for their losses, to anger that kids can be so cruel to outsider-students, to admiration for those who fought to survive as well as admiration for people like the Picketts who used their talents toward helping people recover and rebuild,” Rich says of the Advocate story.


Katrina survivor Kristi Jemison, featured in the August 2015 Lake Highlands Advocate 

Rich says that after reading Rosalyn Story’s 2010 novel “Wading Home,” a fictional account of a family’s attempt to reconnect following Katrina (our story about that is here), she was inspired to set it to music, as an opera with jazz influence.

Rich is a multi-award-winning songwriter and composer. Story is a violinist and author of three novels.

The women and their “Wading Home” project enjoy major support from Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts. They also received a grant from the Sphinx Organization, which allowed them to present the opera as a workshop production last spring.

“Wading Home” the opera is produced and directed by SMU’s Barbara Hill Moore, distinguished professor of music.

Grammy-winning baritone Donny Ray Albert leads the cast, which features a slew of SMU alumni, Rich says.

The Dallas performance is set for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 15 at Dallas City Performance Hall. The performance is free and seating is on a first come first serve basis. Donations benefit the nonprofit The Roots of Music.