Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?
Jonathan knows what it means.
He was only four and half years old when Katrina hit. He had already lived in three states — Missouri, Mississippi and Louisiana — during his short life. We moved to the city before his third birthday and Jonathan had adopted New Orleans as his “hometown.”
Just days after the storm, we had to go to Atlanta because of my job. We had only been there a few weeks and Jonathan was getting homesick. We still had no idea how long we would be there or when we would even get to go to New Orleans for a visit. We didn’t know if we had anything waiting for us back home. At the time the city was still filled with water.
One evening when I came home from work Jonathan was playing with Legos. He put a few Legos together and said, “Look Daddy, it’s Louisiana.” His face was so sad. I snapped a photo of him with his creation – the camera recorded the date as Sept. 16, 2005.
The little boy had been through a lot in the 19 days following Katrina. Jonathan missed anything familiar … anything normal. He really missed his toys (all but a few of his toys were back in New Orleans). He missed Audubon Zoo. He missed his church and his friends. Most of all he missed home. There were only questions, no answers.
Don’t get me wrong, Jonathan had many fun and happy times during our eight months in Atlanta, but this was a profound and sad moment.