Linda Jackson - In Memoriam
I am so sad to let you know today that we have lost our founder and our guiding light, Linda Jackson. It wasn’t COVID-19. She went into the hospital for knee surgery, which went fine. She was moved to the rehab floor and while she was there, more than a week after surgery, she had a heart attack and didn’t recover.
It's almost incomprehensible. She was such a fighter. How could she just die like that? And how will we get along without her?
In the words of neighborhood activist Happy Johnson,
“Linda embodied a steadfast and selfless warrior spirit.”
She founded the Lower 9th Ward Homeownership Association barely 6 months after the levees failed. Fourteen years later, she was still fighting to rebuild her beloved neighborhood. The night before she went to the hospital, she was at a Board meeting by Zoom, excited about our commitment to expanding our work in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
In the years between, she had done almost everything in our neighborhood—case management for people applying for disaster recovery funds; Parliamentarian of the Stakeholder’s Coalition; Vice Chair of the School Advisory Group; bringing in volunteers and taking them to overgrown lots that needed their time and sweat; spearheading a study of Minority Health Disparities; and fighting the widening of the Industrial Canal.
Most of all, she had an unerring instinct for people who didn’t really have the interests of the neighborhood at heart. You could always find her in the back of the room, just taking it all in. And when she had heard enough, she would ask the crucial question and slice right through the BS to what her community needed.
Linda had two daughters and a son and a big extended family. She helped raise her grandchildren, brought them to volunteer at the L9WHA, drove across the state to go to her grandson’s college basketball games, took the kids to the water park and Mardi Gras parades in Slidell. She was always rippin’ and runnin’, as she liked to say. She loved the buffet at the Silver Slipper and playing pool at the Friendly Bar and cooking for her family. And she loved the Lower 9th Ward.
The family and the L9WHA are planning ways to honor her during this time. What she would want most, though, is for all of us to keep on fighting for the Lower 9th Ward. This is how we will honor her.
With a broken heart and with gratitude for you,
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