We are all affected by the aftermath of Katrina even here in the Stateline. For one Beloit man who spent the first 25 years of his life in New Orleans the pain hits closer to home.
Doctor Pierre Charles of Beloit grew up in New Orleans. The Saturday before Katrina hit his brothers family decided to evacuate New Orleans for nearby Slidell. When it became apparent on Sunday that Slidell was right in the middle of the storms path they decided to go further inland, but there was one problem.
Charles says, “My brother just had a baby last Thursday. The baby had complications after birth.”
The family was forced to leave their newborn daughter at the intensive care unit in Slidell.
Charles tells 23 News, “There were so many rumors that hospitals were shutting down and shipping babies away. Nobody knew where the baby was until Wednesday or Thursday.”
Efforts by local media and hospital staff in both Beloit and Slidell were able to inform the Charles family that the hospital was running on generators and their daughter was doing fine. That was a big relief for worried relatives.
Pierre Charles, Jr. recalls, “I feel good my family has found their baby and I can have a new cousin.”
Though the family seems to be intact Doctor Charles fears his mothers house has not fared as well. The house is located in one of the lowest spots in New Orleans and is likely under more than ten feet of water. This Beloit family's connection to this historic event doesn't end there. Dr. Charles' wife is one of many volunteers in the Gulf Coast helping sick people get the medical supplies they need to survive. Their daughter Rebecca Charles says she is proud of her mom and tells us, “I was scared at first but now I feel ok about it and I know she will make it back safely.”
And to this family that is what is most important, everyone is safe. Dr. Charles plans on starting a charity drive where those who donate can get to know exactly how their money helps the lives of specific hurricane victims.