So it has been 8 years since Hurricane Katrina turned the city that I was born and raised in upside town. This is not a blog post about how we, as a city, have made heroic changes or that Katrina was actually really good for the New Orleans Saints. This is instead about the moms who parented through extraordinary times.
At the time I was a mom to a one-year-old when I parented through Hurricane Isaac. There was no power, there was no AC and there was nothing to do. Hubby was at work nearly 24 hours a day, because apparently people wanted their power back on. That was enough of a survival class for me.
I was a single girl when Katrina hit. All I had to do was worry about myself. That was pretty easy since I worked in Baton Rouge at the time. I had family move in and they took care of cooking, cleaning and laundry since they had nothing else to do. I spent the days at work, serving as communications director of a first responder nonprofit.
Since Katrina and each anniversary we reflect on the police, the fire fighters, the Red Cross, and the many volunteers who flooded the city to help post-storm. But what about the moms on the frontlines in each and every flooded household of New Orleans?
NOLA moms are the true first responders. Before a pump was turned on, a fire truck was deployed or a electrical line restored, the NOLA moms were already at work. They were preparing meals, tucking kids in make shift beds, and reassuring little ones it would be OK. They were responding to an uncharted situation with confidence, at least on the surface in front of their children.
Having been through just a small storm, Isaac, as a mom I can’t imagine the heroic efforts that they experienced. How do you tell a four year old that their home is destroyed? How do you deliver a newborn while evacuated in Alabama without your doctor, family or oddles of supplies you had packed? How do you celebrate Christmas as an evacuee in someone else’s home? How do you enroll your child in a school that you don’t know how long they will attend it for?
I just can’t fathom it all. Not only as a mom, did they have to figure all of this out. They had to put on their big girl panties and their brave faces and get it done with little eyes closely watching. The stress, and the emotional toil alone would make some cringe.
So on this anniversary, I ask you to salute the NOLA moms that got it done. They experienced uncharted territory in parenting and something that as a parent, I hope I never live through.