The coronavirus pandemic is affecting nearly everyone in the world in different ways, but for one Louisiana family, the deadly virus inflicted a particularly devastating blow. Four members of the same family died after contracting the virus, including the 86-year-old matriarch. Antoinette Franklin and three of her sons all died within days of each other.
Antoinette Franklin, a lifelong New Orleans resident, died on March 23. Her son Herman Franklin Jr., 71, died on March 20. He was a father of eight, his obituary reads. Another of her sons, Anthony Franklin Sr., 58, died on March 26 and then a third, Timothy Franklin, 61, died on March 30.
All three brothers were memorialized at a “celebration of life” on April 3. According to the obituaries, there were nine other siblings in the family.
A service was held for their mother on April 4 at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where she was a member for over 60 years.
Antoinette Franklin’s obituary says she had 12 children. Three of them died within days of her – all from the coronavirus.
A spokesperson for the New Orleans Coroner’s Office confirmed to CBS News that all four family members tested positive for COVID-19, noting their causes of death were still under investigation.
Louisiana has been one of the states hardest hit by the coronavirus. In fact, New Orleans has had double the rate of deaths per capita than New York City, and the African American community has been disproportionately affected.
“Wake up! Covid-19 doesn’t discriminate in who it infects, but >70% of deaths in LA are African-American,” former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu tweeted. That statistic was shared earlier by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards during a press briefing.
Landrieu compared the coronavirus crisis to Hurricane Katrina. “The communities that had generational wealth came back much faster [after Katrina]. You’ll see that with the people that have access to transportation and health care. The same is true with food security. Focus on equitable response,” he tweeted.
To date, there have been at least 4,942 confirmed coronavirus cases in New Orleans and 185 deaths, according to New Orleans Public Health.
The loss of so many members of the Franklin family in New Orleans echoes another heartbreaking story from New Jersey. In March, four members of the Fusco family died from the coronavirus, including 73-year-old Grace Fusco and three of her 11 children.