Squandered Heritage Vintage

4 years and counting

Just got back from taking my child to college.

The last time we had a car trip so filled with anxiety and uncertainty it was evacuating in 2005. She was a freshman in high school and when we returned in December she returned to her flooded school to start where she left off.

An unwise decision by the school principal to make the kids take the entire “lost” semester all over again saw some additional stress heaped on an already wigged out student body. Some left and some stayed, she stayed.

We took some trips together the one I will always remember is the trip to Mexico, her country of birth.

National Palace

And life went on in our half flooded house. The dogs were glad we took them along and were as happy to be home as we were.

Ida Christmas Eve

Mexico was her birthplace and home for 13 years. Mexico made her who she is and New Orleans added the dimension of patience and joy. She lives between those 2 worlds and as hard as that is sometime she does it very well.


Standing on the shores of the Gulf with her friends in a landscape of wreckage I think they all know what it is to embrace and love your community and know when it is time to go out and be the ambassadors for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

Ida, Ashley and Ana

So off they go, to Boston, Chicago and Kansas City. I am so proud of our “Katrina Class” The ones that started in 2005 and finished in 2009.

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About Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led to guilty pleas in federal court. Her work attracted some of journalism's highest honors, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a gold medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors. She can be reached at (504) 606-6013.

  • Sounds like both of y’all need hugs. I wish her well in college and know she’ll be a great ambassador for New Orleans… and for the loving family that raised her.

  • debi

    I’ve been waiting for you to put something up mommy…….she’s going to be great!

    Let’s take a road trip to KC to visit her sometime

  • Karen, I can’t believe Ida’s 18. She looks so much like you. What a life she’s had already and she’s just beginning. Go, Ida, indeed!

  • I’m right there with ya, Karen.

    Alison is also of the Katrina Class, and what an amazing ride it’s been. I thought I was going to be a bawling mess at graduation, but they barely touched on the storm, or how it changed the girls. It was such a huge part of their experience, shaping them in ways we can barely imagine. To leave it out seemed bizarre, but who knows? Maybe they’ve just had just about enough Katrina to last a lifetime. Haven’t we all, in the end?

    I firmly believe that these kids who dealt with so much so young are going to go out and take on the world, having learned the value of community and family so early.

    But then Ida’s got that in her genes, hasn’t she? 🙂 So big congrats to both Ida and Mom for such a great job!

  • ana


  • Ana….Is it snowing yet? Fred and Fiona miss you too. You won’t recognize Ida’s room, it is clean! See you in December.

    Besos mi amor.


  • AyUaxed

    My eldest son was also a high school freshman in 2005 and came back as soon as his school reopened. My younger son was beginning middle school. Until No.1 went off to college, we didn’t realize how very very close we became through those hard times. It tears at us still, yet we know and take great joy in how very blessed we are to be together as a family, through good, bad, unimaginable, and everything in between. So, yeah, I hears ya, dawlin! Thanks for sharing.

  • AyUaxed

    I took a drive down Jena the other day to see how close you will all be to the CVS. Look at Dublin St near Roberts…there will be no major street improvements when they put in the CVS what is bumpy will get bumpier.

    Also as far as the kids go..such sadness and joy and pride. And don’t get me started about what kind of support the schools offered these kids after the flood…