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Katrina oral history series: Elisabét Muñeca Diaz

Ellie and Jackson

Elisabét and Jackson (Photo: Elisabét Muñeca Diaz )


He’s a little kid. He doesn’t know. He doesn’t understand how sick he is, and I remember so many times so many nurses sitting by his bedside that would always say, ‘He’ll never know. He’ll never know what you went through. He’ll never understand.’

And I knew what they meant at the time, but I didn’t know what they meant at the time, if you know what I mean. It always sinks in a little bit more every year, you know. When he doesn’t understand why he can’t ride on a roller coaster or do certain things that he wants to do.

But if you saw him running around and chatting, you would never ever imagine the things he’s been through. Never. He’s kind of like a little old man. He is. He’s very matter-of-fact, and he’s ten now, so he thinks he’s a teenager already. He’s already very surely. Like I’m so much smarter than that or that’s so boring or I’m so sick, yes, I know the big storm when I was born. Whatever. He doesn’t care.

But on the flip side of that, he’s just a regular kid. He’s very happy. He’s really obsessed with his video games and his YouTube things. All these normal things and doesn’t get what all the hubbub is about sometimes.

He has a lot of doctors, and he does have to do a lot of things that a lot of kids don’t have to do, and he does go through his times when he’s kind of angry about that. He gets sick of his medications and things like that. For the most part, you just would never guess it. He’s so strong, and he’s so funny. He’s a little comedian. Comedy is his best friend.

Elisabét and Jackson (Photo: Nancy Hinds)

Elisabét and Jackson (Photo: Nancy Hinds)

I mean, he definitely gets that from my family. We’ve always been that way, and my mom has always said laughter is the best medicine. He’s definitely a lot like that, and he just wants to make everybody laugh and make everything happy all the time. That’s his challenge in life—to get a laugh out of you.

You know it’s funny because he gets that from his dad’s side too. One of his first words was ‘Ha,’ because every time he would see his grandfather, he would be laughing. We were in such close quarter. People who barely knew each other. His father and I had only been together for a year when we got pregnant, and all of a sudden we were living together in hotel rooms, in Ronald McDonald house, and hospital rooms. So, there was a lot of laughter. A lot of jokes and trying to make things easier for each other.

His grandfather is just very jolly. He’d always be giggling, and he’d turn really beet red when he would giggle, and one of Jackson’s first words was ‘Ha.’ And to this day we still call him ‘Ha.’

Hear Elisabét’s Muñeca Diaz’s full story as well as Nancy Hind’s (Jackson’s grandmother) story on WRBH. Their story will be airing on Monday, August 24th from 12:30-1:00 P.M. on 88.3 F.M The Oral History Project is an ongoing series, and in honor of the 10 year anniversary of Katrina, they will be highlighting personal stories from New Orleanians. Check WRBH’s full schedule by visiting their calendar.


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