Saturday, September 03, 2005

News of Joshua Gleason, Wife, and Newborn

On his way out of the Astrodome, Joshua Gleason bent over and picked up a wooden cross.Worried about his fiancée and their 3-day-old daughter, Gleason, 21, stuffed the wooden cross into the front right pocket of his shorts. He already had a gold crucifix around his neck and was counting on divine intervention. But at the moment, he headed out of the Astrodome in need of a cigarette.Three-day old stubble covered a sunburned face framed with short blond hair; his blue eyes looked weary. A pack of beef jerky poked out of his left pocket.Four days from his 21st birthday, Gleason described the horror of Hurricane Katrina as reports suggests his St. Bernard home, like most of the others in the parish, is under water - and possibly destroyed beyond repair.Yet his home was of little concern as he searched in vain to find out where his newborn daughter was three days after his fiancée, Tammy Stephens, had given birth at the St. Bernard Parish Prison, where the family had taken shelter.Their exodus from New Orleans started Monday when the couple awoke to find about 18 inches of water outside their home. Within 24 hours, with the home submerged under about five feet of water, Gleason said he broke into a nearby house and took food and water before the family moved to an occupied house down the street.Rescued by a boat, Gleason said, the family's odyssey continued when they were moved from shelters at Chalmette High School, the St. Bernard Parish Courthouse and, as water continued to rise, the prison.It was inside a holding cell Tuesday night that Stephens gave birth to the couple's first child, a daughter. The memory made Gleason swell … with anger."The conditions the baby was born in were disgusting,'' he said, describing blood that soaked several sheets and backed up the toilet after a doctor delivered he baby. "I was holding the IV, wiping my fiancée's head down with a wet rag. I held her down when the doctor broke her water bag and put the baby in position (for delivery)."She didn't have no epidural, they didn't have no pain medicine, nothing.''Gleason said he was worried about the birth because Stephens suffers from epileptic seizures. But a day later, medical officials arrived and said they had to take Stephens and the newborn by helicopter to a hospital. Authorities said they had no room for Gleason because they also were transporting a man injured in a crane accident. And when Stephens objected to leaving without her fiancé, Gleason said things got ugly."They told her if she didn't go that they were going to take the baby away,'' Gleason said. "They threatened her as much as they could to get her in there.''Eventually, Stephens gave in and was taken to an undisclosed hospital.Gleason ended up on a bus that took him to the Astrodome. There, his frustration only grew."I'm definitely aggravated that they can't tell me where my fiancée is, or my baby," he said, adding that he's posted notes inside the Astrodome and asked friends and officials for information to no avail. "Nobody ain't seen her. Nobody's telling us really nothing because they don't know nothing.''But when asked what he and his fiancée had named their first child, a grin crept across Gleason's face.The original plan was to name her Haley. But that changed after the hurricane hit New Orleans."My fiancée wanted to name her Katrina because her water broke on the day of the hurricane and the day after the hurricane she had her,'' Gleason said. "I don't know if she's got it on the birth certificate yet, but that's what she told the doctor.''


Blogger pat said...

If anyone has information on Joshua Gleason please e-mail me at

2:25 PM  

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