March 9, 2020, was NOLA’s first confirmed COVID case
A year ago today, we had the first reported case of COVID-19 in our city. I assumed a few more cases might follow, but I never ever saw any of the rest of this coming.
In fact, this day a year ago, my biggest worry was a carjacking that took place on the UNO campus, near where I work. I came home stressed and exhausted and worried … and it had nothing to do with COVID. In fact, I think I wrote a lighthearted blog that week about how I, as a well-established germaphobe, was thrilled to see the emphasis on hand-washing and doorknob-wiping. “I’m enjoying the COVID-19 panic while it lasts,” I posted on Facebook.
The next day, which was a Tuesday, I worked on some emails about my school’s upcoming graduation (spoiler alert: it ended up not happening, at least not in a traditional fashion) and texted a few parents at my kids’ school about items for the class auction baskets for our gala (spoiler alert: that ended up not happening either).
By Wednesday, we had students in quarantine. By Thursday, we were in emergency meetings all day long, and I started to feel like I was in some kind of disaster movie. And by Friday, school was closed.
That Friday (the 13th), I remember standing outside of a restaurant on my lunch break (the last time I ate inside a restaurant) crying because I’d just gotten the call that we were closing schools and I was worried about how some students would even be able to eat, let alone access technology. Honestly, I know teachers and school administrators and other staff like janitorial and cafeteria workers aren’t heroes in the same way that medical workers are, but when I think of all of the things that educators and school staffers have done in the last year, I get a little choked up.
Over the days that followed the shutdown, I made lists of goals (most of which never happened) and schedules (most of which were never followed), started my obligatory pandemic sourdough, learned to Zoom, and bought a needlepoint kit (which now sits tangled and unfinished under my bed).
“Goals for today: make a meatloaf and stave off existential dread,” I posted on Facebook, along with a picture of my meatloaf. “Well, one out of two ain’t bad.”
These days, I still have the occasional surge of existential dread, but overall, I’ve gotten pretty good at Zoom and sourdough recipes.
What a year it’s been.