Katrina Babies Crowd New Orleans Hospitals

July 28, 2006 — -- Hospitals in New Orleans are overwhelmed once again, but instead of Hurricane Katrina victims coming in for emergency care, the halls are filled with mothers giving birth roughly nine months after the crisis.

"We have been so busy that we have had to expand and take over a whole new department and take over the cardiologist floor," said Dr. Elizabeth Shane French of Ochsner Hospital.

"A baby boom is occurring," said Dr. William Gill of the Tulane Medical Center.

While it's too early for any official data, hospitals in the New Orleans area are noticing crowded maternity wards.

Power Failures Credited With Pregnancies

At Tulane Medical Center, baby Dakota Dobson is the 26th newborn to be admitted to a neonatology ward that is designed to care for 20 babies at its maximum capacity.

When asked when they conceived Dakota, her dad, Dennis, joked there was "no cable" and the electricity was out.

"Honestly, with the electricity and cable being out, one thing led to another. We have this bundle of joy," said another new dad, Ralph Tankersley, while cuddling his baby Aubrey at Ochsner Hospital.

We also spoke with Rebecca Doss who recently gave birth to twins Skyler and Tyler, and noted, "I guess this is what happens when you don't have electricity."

Another cause could have been the lack of access to prescriptions after Hurricane Katrina. "The fact that you don't know where your doctors are and you can't get your birth control pills refilled -- I think that all has a lot to do with this," French said.

Whatever the cause, the babies are creating an exciting, exhausting and emotional time in the maternity wards.

"It's nice to see all the babies," said maternity nurse Juanita Vice. "It's sad to see a lot of them going home to the FEMA trailers."

One-week-old Dakota Dobson went home to her nursery crowded into a FEMA trailer, with her parents hoping that they will be in a real home by Dakota's first birthday.