Inside the life of Tulane student Jeremy Baudy: Reflections on Hurricane Katrina and life today

Who: Jeremy Baudy

What: Student at Tulane University

Chosen Location for Interview: Tulane School of Architecture

Jeremy Baudy spent his early years growing up in Gentilly, New Orleans. When he was eight years old Jeremy and his family fled to Houston, Texas to escape from Hurricane Katrina. He and his family spent two years living in Houston until they eventually moved back to New Orleans. He remembers how different Houston was from New Orleans and how devastating the aftermath of Katrina was. Upon first arriving back to New Orleans, Jeremy lived in a trailer with his family until homes were able to be rebuilt. This experience shaped Jeremy’s future. Today, Jeremy attends Tulane University and is in the School of Architecture. He one day plans on becoming an architect to help rebuild the city of New Orleans.

My Interview with Jeremy outlines his experience growing up pre-and post-Hurricane Katrina and details his life today. To kick off the interview, I began by asking questions about Jeremy’s early years.

Jeremy had to grow up faster than most kids, and he did not fully get the chance to have a normal childhood. He had to flee from his home when he was only 8 years of age.

Jeremy states, “Yeah. So, I didn’t really get childhood. I grew up in this neighborhood called Gentilly in New Orleans. It’s north of here, north of uptown. And, I don’t remember the specific streets, but we moved around a lot.  My first childhood home my parents were still together, it was on King Drive, which is still in Gentilly. And then we moved around a lot and I went to the international schools. And so, it was an immersion school, and I was learning French at the time and I went there from kindergarten, first and second grade and then that’s when Katrina hit. And so my family, we evacuated a couple of days before when there was a national emergency. And then we traveled to Houston from there.”

There were countless families that had to flee New Orleans at that time, with many of them ending up in Houston because it was the closest major city to New Orleans. Jeremy and his family fled to Houston three days before Katrina hit. His mom packed up as much as she could, leaving behind many important family objects, such as childhood photos. Jeremy remembers that his transition moving from New Orleans to Houston was difficult and that he felt like an outsider. He moved to Houston with his Mom and siblings while his Dad and uncles stayed in New Orleans. He remembers not being able to contact his dad for days after the storm due to power outages in New Orleans.

He states that, “Houston was very different…kids thought I was like an alien or just from a foreign country. I remember going to school, I started school back up in January actually. So I was out of school for a couple of months and kids coming up to me were  bringing me ice cream and they were  showing me how to eat it. And they’re like, ‘this is called ice cream…it’s a milk dessert.’ And I was like, ‘I know what this is.’”

Eventually Jeremy acclimated to living in Houston and even grew to like living there.

He states, “I adapted quickly. During my childhood I was just  bouncing around from house to house pretty much. Sometimes I’ll stay with my grandmother while my parents were at work and then  sometimes I sleep over by my cousin’s house because it was just like a big family thing. So, the concept of home wasn’t really set in place. It was set by the people that I was with. So as long as I was with my family, like that was home there. But it was nice to go back to visit. My grandparents were the first to go back immediately, and it [New Orleans] was just completely destroyed. Yeah. They they leveled it and they were living in a trailer for a while. Everyone was living in trailers. Like our whole neighborhood was unrecognizable. It was just like, yeah. It was bad.”

After two years in Houston, Jeremy and his family returned to New Orleans. He recalls how heartbreaking it was to see the city after the Hurricane. He states, “We didn’t go back for a while, but, it was heartbreaking. It was really, really heartbreaking. Like from the outside you can see the roof had collapsed. We walked inside and all of our rooms were upstairs, and we couldn’t even get to it because it was like the stairs were destroyed, there was just mold everywhere.”

Today, Jeremy believes that New Orleans has fully rebuilt itself. He notes that there is a famous saying that goes like this, “Once Café Du Monde is back up, the city is going to be all right.” Jeremy also stated that many people had given up on New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina and that many people who lived in neighborhoods who were statistically majority black did not receive the same help and resources of those who lived in statistically majority white neighborhoods.

Katrina and its aftermath had a significant impact on Jeremy and his future. He states that he would like to become an architect to make the city a lot better than it is today. Many people gave up on New Orleans and when they get the chance they leave. Jeremy wants to leave at some point but eventually wants to return to his home and help the city.

Link to portion of the interview:


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