This virus made us question everything. I worried about my family, my city, my country, the whole world. For most of the past 30 years or so, I’ve spent my life working—on the stage, in a recording or TV studio, on a movie set—or with my family. As much as I love to work, during the pandemic it was the last thing on my mind. I spent a lot of time thinking about the selfless everyday folks who were making our lives livable—or, more accurately, possible. I even got a chance to thank them personally in a CBS TV special I produced in June 2020.
I watched from a distance while New Orleans got hit early, the streets empty, hospitals overflowing. My wife, Jill, and I and our three girls were at our home in Connecticut—we were among the lucky ones—and stayed there when everything locked down. Everywhere you looked, people were getting sick. Our family lost 14 people—10 due to complications from Covid. A beloved uncle. The priest who married Jill and me. My mentor, jazz musician Ellis Marsalis, patriarch of the brilliant Marsalis family. What made this especially hard was that we couldn’t go through the natural grieving process. Normally there’s a communal event where everyone gets some closure. Then, over time, you merge back into life’s fast lane. The problem with lockdown was that you never got back on the highway. You were just stuck with the loss. The most painful loss for my family, by far, was that of my mother-in-law, Glenna Goodacre. As many of us know from this pandemic, there’s not much worse than losing someone so close and not being able to do anything about it. No funerals, no memorial services, nothing.
At first, I watched the news. New Orleans itself seemed to be dying, along with all the things that make it great. The city had been through this before with Hurricane Katrina. Now here we were again, struggling to understand how we were to survive another catastrophe. I knew we would, but the devastation was brutal to watch in real time.
New Orleans is a city like no other. The way I was brought up, you were aware of people’s different races, cultures and backgrounds—Black, white, Irish, Italian, Jewish—and we celebrated all of them. The differences were good. Like the different ways people made gumbo. My uncle Ray’s gumbo vs. Miss Leah Chase’s gumbo at her restaurant Dooky Chase’s vs. the gumbo from the kitchen of my friend’s mother, who lived in the projects. All of them different, all good.
But now people couldn’t even go out. It didn’t matter how good your gumbo was—you and your family were the only ones who were going to eat it. You couldn’t go anywhere. Not even church. That was especially hard for my family. Telling my dad he couldn’t go to church was a really serious matter.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
The Legacy of Flight 93
An Army officer remembers his cousin Rich Guadagno and the other 39 heroes who died in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 11
After two divorces, did I really know what I wanted in a relationship? Did I even know who I needed to be?
“God Will Bless Your Business
George Turner was sure the pandemic would spell the end of his struggling bike shop. His pastor had other ideas
The 46th Peak
We decided to do this last hike of the challenge together. Partway down, I heard my husband scream
Challenge Yourself to...Connect More!
Eager to emerge from the loneliness of lockdown and socialize again? We’ve put together a list of 15 challenges for reconnecting with the people you care about—and making new friends too. Focus on a few activities, or pick one each day to try over the next two months. Pay attention to how your relationships flourish!
Reason for Hope
I feared my son would never get off drugs. Until an art class changed my heart
He was the dog I always wanted. But he came with baggage, a little like me
ALONE WITH MY FAITH
The pandemic left a lot of us feeling isolated. Including me. But it opened the door to something deeper in my music and in my soul
How two strangers found friendship and healing as they came to terms with the legacy of slavery
70 Years of Hope & Inspiration
Elizabeth Sherrill’s life as a writer has been a journey of the soul, a journey that also became the very soul of Guideposts magazine
NEW COVID THREAT: BREAKTHROUGH CASES!
Vax didn’t protect them from illness & even death
AMAZON TO ALLOW EMPLOYEES TO WORK REMOTELY INDEFINITELY
Amazon said it will allow many tech and corporate workers to continue working remotely indefinitely, as long as they can commute to the office when necessary.
GUIDE TO OPEN ENROLLMENT
Health care costs continue to climb, but subsidies will make some plans more affordable.
MORE is MORE
Yngwie Malmsteen takes his neoclassical shred to new extremes on Parabellum.
AN INTERESTING OPEN SIGHT
Home on the Greens
Golf-driven real estate is finally getting out of the rough.
Building Community Through Education
KIRAN BIR SETHI is changing the experience of childhood in Indian cities through her education curriculum and initiatives to build healthy relationships between students and their communities. Here she is interviewed by KASHISH KALWANI.
Are Vaccine Mandates Justifiable?
Some call them reasonable public health measures, while others say they are an un-American invasion of privacy
The Kids Are Alright
SCIENTISTS HAVE FOUND A SURPRISINGLY SIMPLE CURE FOR THE POST-PANDEMIC BLUES — FOR CHILDREN AND THEIR PARENTS
Data Breach Exposes Student Requests For Vaccine Exemptions
Personal information from students at a California college who requested a religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine has been posted online after an apparent data breach.