Katrina’s Orphan

So many awful images from Hurricane Katrina – the ones involving children stand out for me. A desperate father holding up his three week old baby, crying out for formula. Babies in intensive care whose parents were evacuated. And, most poignantly of all, a quick pan over from the camera catching a little boy of perhaps 5, holding onto a white emergency personnel officer’s pant leg, his words caught in passing by the camera crew: “My mama dead. She got push in the water.” His words, his face, his plight haunt me. Who is that child? Does he have a grandmother, a big brother, a cousin or aunt who will care for him? If so – where are they? Why was he with the rescue person and not someone he knows, someone who loves him? Were they all dead too, slaughtered by the inaction of a government heavy on moral posturing and light on compassion? And would this scene have been televised without fanfare had he been a white child or from a more affluent neighborhood?

Posted on September 14, 2005 in Children and Society

  • karen says:

    The one that haunts me is the baby (2 years) in New Orleans whose mommy is holding him, and he is asleep, and she keeps saying, “he won’t wake up; he won’t wake up.” Apparently he was alive but no matter what they did, they couldn’t get him to respond, and they were worried about his not eating for so long. He had escaped to a safer place, sleep, where he felt nothing could harm him. And I wonder if he has ever woken up, or if he just passed on.

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