Family and colleagues are mourning the shocking death of New Orleans TV anchor Nancy Parker, who was killed in a plane crash while covering a story.
Parker, a wife and mother of three, was a respected journalist who worked at New Orleans' FOX 8 station for over 20 years.
FOX 8 reporter and anchor Meg Gatto, overcome with emotion, said during Monday morning's newscast, "I think for you at home to see how upset we are, obviously we're trying to be professional this morning, but this just shows you how much we love Nancy."
"How much this is not just a working environment for us here at FOX 8, we are truly family. We celebrated life's events with each other -- weddings, births of babies," she said. "It's just so hard to be without her this morning."
"Nancy was an amazing person and I miss her like crazy. I will never get over this," Parker's husband, Glynn Boyd, wrote on Facebook on Sunday night. "We were supposed to live this out until there were lines on our faces, from a life time of smiles. We were supposed to grow old and laugh and talk about times gone by."
"But, my pastor said in Sunday morning service, Nancy was only on loan to us. She always belonged to God and he needed this beautiful angel and called her to his heavenly home on Friday," Boyd wrote.
A memorial will be held on Friday at Xavier’s Convocation Center in New Orleans, said Boyd.
"Friday will not be goodbye, it’ll be, til next time my Angel," wrote Boyd, who was a former employee of ABC New Orleans affiliate WGNO, according to his Facebook page.
Parker died on Friday in a plane crash near New Orleans' Lakefront Airport. The only other person on board, pilot Franklin Augustus, also died.
Shortly after takeoff, the pilot radioed the controller in the Lakefront Airport tower and indicated he was having unspecified problems, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
The controller gave the pilot clearance to return, but witnesses reported seeing the plane pitch down and hit the ground, according to the NTSB.
Ken Lemon, vice president-broadcast of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), said in a statement on Friday: “I spoke with journalists in tears. They managed to tell me how Nancy Parker welcomed them and mentored them with a mother’s love."
"Nancy Parker’s enthusiasm for storytelling was evident in her work. Today was no different," Lemon said. "She was looking forward to sharing a story that would help to promote the importance of a drug-free lifestyle. She was a journalist who knew the value of helping younger journalists excel and she displayed a nurturing spirit.”
Parker's FOX 8 colleagues and other journalists took to Twitter to express their grief.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a statement: “For more than two decades, Nancy Parker sat opposite John Snell as the FOX 8 co-anchor and gave us the news of the day. She told it to us straight, but with a combination of professionalism, intelligence, warmth and grace we may never experience again. New Orleans did not just lose a five-time Emmy-winning journalist, or a familiar, comforting face on our TV screens. We lost a loving mother of three, a beautiful human being, and an invaluable member of our community.”
Cantrell said Augustus, the pilot, “spent countless hours introducing flying to area youth through the Young Eagles program and Civil Air Patrol. He spent time working with our young people, even dressing as a costumed superhero of his own creation: ‘The Drug Fighter,’ to deliver a message of hope, and to help combat substance abuse."
Parker and Augustus “were beloved, one-of-a-kind individuals," Cantrell said. "Our hearts and our love go out to their families and all who knew them."