Littlest Victims, Biggest Losses

One New Orleans Family Finds In Hope In Reconnection

Katrina's enormous impact is changing the lives of some of Louisiana's tiniest victims.

In the middle of the storm, Michelle Langsford wasn't about to let go of her 4-month-old son, Kade. Diagnosed with chronic lung disease, and hospitalized since his birth at 1 lb. 6 oz., Kade had already defied the odds.

"I have been with him from day one, and I was not leaving his side when he needed me most," Langsford said.

As Katrina approached last week, she ignored the mandatory evacuation to stay with her premature baby in a New Orleans hospital. But as the waters rose on Tuesday, Kade and 120 other babies from neonatal intensive care units were evacuated without their mothers.

"I was scared," Langsford told CBS News correspondent Tracy Smith. "We walked with him to the elevator and I just told my friend Valerie 'just take care of him.'"

She took a picture of her son as she handed him over, unsure when or even if she'd see him again. "I just held him in my arms and I just snapped pictures of him, and if something happened then, I would have a pictures of him and could say, 'This is my baby.'"

Langsford and her husband Kenny had already lost Kade's twin at birth, and now they faced another faced another wave of fear.

"I kissed him goodbye; that was tough," Kenny said.

"I never imagined it would be this bad," Michelle added.

Kade was one of the lucky ones. Of 87 babies who were transported to woman's hospital in Baton Rouge, eight are still separated from their families. In those cases, the hospital has made contact with family members, but with Katrina's victims spread as far away as Oklahoma or Utah, reconnecting the families is an ongoing challenge.

Kenny had already evacuated with Kade's 6-year-old sister, so he was the first one to join the baby at the Baton Roge hospital.

Michelle joined them later, after hitching a ride on a chopper, wading through water, and walking for miles to get to the hospital.

"You're not keeping me from my baby," she said, "if I have to walk to Baton Rouge."

Hurdles still remain for the Langsfords. They've lost their home and their jobs. But for now, what they've found gives them the strength to keep going.

"We're all just trying to be strong for each other," Kenny said.