As he charges toward the seventh and final book of J. K. Rowling's ubiquitous series, Harry Potter traverses the path of the rising phoenix, emerging from the devastating times that marked both Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The cyclical nature of stories, including Harry Potter, transcends both time and genre. The theme of rebirth the rise from the ashes of apotheosis that marks the final segment of the hero's journey will infuse Phoenix Rising's programming. Moreover, tales of the triumphant return from the nadir are woven through New Orleans’ history, as exhibited by her determined and repeated reconstruction in the wake of the devastating fires in the French Quarter and the desperate battles on the Mississippi River in the 1800s. Rebirth, like death, is as much a part of legend as storytelling or illustration.
A secondary theme of Phoenix Rising revolves around the visual and performing arts, and the depth that their tones and shape impart to written fantasy works. Illustration, film, musical scores and a veritable host of other media influence and integrate with written works to color our perception and understanding as readers. New Orleans serves as a fitting backdrop with her stunning mix of architectural styles, art galleries and musical traditions. Her vivid culture, exemplified by the annual pageantry of Mardi Gras, thrives on sight and sound.
At this time, and in this place as Harry confronts his fate and New Orleans rebuilds her past we will anticipate the finale of a series that binds us with a common theme: rising above conflict, keening followed by determined optimism, and the jubilation of life. Our nature, as much as Harry's or New Orleans', demands that we play the blues, then join the second line. And we will, as Harry does, but not before exploring and predicting the final notes of J. K. Rowling's magnificent story.