Arion D. Moore-Smith holds her son, Aamari, who was born during the Covid-19 pandemic. New Orleans, LA, June 5, 2020.

Everything was ready for Arion Moore-Smith’s baby shower, set for April 4. The decorations, the caterer, the cake. Even the party favors had been made. At about 100 friends and family, it wasn’t going to be small. Moore-Smith, 29, had endured three miscarriages to get to this place: a healthy pregnancy with a month and a half left before her due date on April 30.

In professional “baby on board” photos taken before, she beams in a fuchsia gown that hugs her full belly and sets off her red-tipped hair. Moore-Smith had fought for the last eight months for a pregnancy that felt in her control — planning for her mother to be there at the birth, along with her husband, and to deliver naturally, without an epidural, working with a new doctor who she felt listened to her concerns, especially as a black woman.

On March 13, Gov. John Bel Edwards banned gatherings of more than 250 people. Five days later, he banned gatherings of more than 50 people. 

“And we were like, ‘Oh my God, 50 people, but it’s only the middle of March. Maybe it’ll change by the 4th,” Moore-Smith remembers. “Maybe it’ll, you know, die down.’ ”

Read the full story at WWNO’s Crescent to Capitol.