A mother’s struggle in the storm

            Many students had to suffer the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, but few had to do it during the middle of a pregnancy.

            Juanita Booth, a junior, early childhood education major from Dallas, Texas, was in her fourth month of pregnancy when the storm hit.  She was forced to leave her apartment in New Orleans east the Saturday before the storm, and go back home. 

    Booth is engaged to Ellis Quillin, a New Orleans native, and was more worried about him than she was about herself.

            “I was worried because my fiance and his family were still here and I didn’t know how they were,” Booth says.  ”We couldn’t talk that much, so I didn’t know what to think.”

            Booth was concerned about her fiance until the minute he phoned.

            “When Ellis called and told me he was on the bus to Houston, I told my mama, ‘I’m on my way to Houston. I have to go get my baby,'” Booth said.

            Due to the pressure from the storm, she grew sick and experienced some complications during her pregnancy.

            “I was really stressed out and on the verge of being sick and possibly have a miscarriage, but fortunately, I delivered a healthy baby girl.”

She gave birth to Jordan Kennedy Booth-Quillin February 24, 2006.

            Though she had her baby and her fiance was back with her, it still seemed as though things couldn’t get any better for Booth.

            “From August until after I gave birth, nothing went right. I lost all of my stuff and my fiance was a wreck,” Booth said. “He was so upset because he lived here all his life and lost everything and all of his memories.”

            But since she’s been back, she looks forward to the things to come in the future.  She’ll be moving into an apartment with her fiance and daughter, and shortly after that, she will be getting married on June 17th.

            “I want to be able to come to my second home and have things back to normal, but I know that will never happen,” Booth said.  “I just pray nothing else tragic happens to the city because my family and I will have to leave New Orleans permanently.”