Nikeland Cooper '06

As I take a look at what was once my home for 20 years-plus for a second time, I still am trying to piece back together a broken heart that was ripped and torn by Hurricane Katrina.  Even to this day, I can not express the words I feel deep down inside. 

My home was built by my grandfather back in 1960 after my grandfather and grandmother moved from northern Mississippi to the Gulf Coast. It was a pretty nice brick home that holds a lot of memories. I was watching my mother as some guys were throwing away pieces of furniture. We took a deep breath and hugged each other close as guys threw away the headboard of her bed.  My grandmother gave birth to my mother in that same bed back on New Years’ Eve of 1961.  Years later, my mom unable to make it to the hospital due to troubling weather, gave birth to me in that same bed.

On Thursday afternoon after our arrival, the guys helped my neighbor across the street take a skill saw and work on the walls which over the years hung many pictures of family and friends. As the blade first penetrated the wall, my heart was in pain; however, I had to gather myself and realize that the walls are material objects which can be replaced over time. More importantly, my family is doing well.

Memories now must rest in the hearts and minds of many families that share the same devastation. Many of you can not relate with what is going on. All I ask of you is to pray for assistance to the Gulf Coast areas of devastation so as time progress, many communities will be able to be rebuilt better and stronger than before.

I would like to thank the Malcolm X Institute, Wabash College Administration, and especially all of you who sacrificed a couple days and hours of your time to help families and communities who are in much need. 

Thank you!