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Katrina oral history series: Adam Roussell

Adam Roussell Family photo


Roussell Family (Photo: Sydney Honore)

Adam’s story, as told to his 7-year-old daughter, Addison and 4-year-old son, Marshall.

In May of 2005, mommy had just finished graduate school at Loyola. And she had just gotten a job teaching at a school called Jean Gordon Elementary, which isn’t far from your mama and papa’s house.

[Addison] ‘Mommy told me about that place.’

What happened was that after mommy’s graduation, mommy and daddy went to a jeweler. We picked out an engagement ring for mommy to design. She designed her very own ring. I wanted to make sure that she had the exact ring that she wanted to have, so mommy knew that we were going to get married and that we were going to get engaged, but she didn’t know when she was going to get the ring. I wanted it to be a surprise. You guys think that was a cool idea?

[Kids in unison] ‘Yes.’

I thought it was too. So, during the summer, mommy and daddy decorated mommy’s classroom. On August 26th, that was the Friday before we evacuated for Hurricane Katrina, we just finished decorating mommy’s classroom. I had a big plan. My plan was to get the ring from the jeweler and to surprise mommy with it on that Saturday.

My plan was to take the dogs to the groomers so they could look all nice and neat, and then take mommy out for a special dinner to celebrate her getting her first job after she finished school. That’s what mommy thought, but what was really going to happen was that I was going to ask mommy to marry me. Do you think she was going to say yes?

‘Yes. Cause you guys did get married.’

I was hoping mommy would say yes. The only thing that interrupted our plan was that there was this big storm out in the Gulf of Mexico called Hurricane Katrina. I wasn’t really paying a lot of attention to that. I had a mission. My mission was to get the ring, get the dogs to the groomers, take your mommy out to dinner, and ask her to marry me.

Adam Roussell’s and Jane Trucksis’s full stories will be airing on Friday, August 28th from 12:30-1:00 P.M. on WRBH, 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. If you miss the live broadcast, you can find recordings of the full stories on WRBH’s SoundCould page. Check WRBH’s full schedule by visiting their calendar.


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