Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Jessica
I thought about coming to write on your blog the day before christmas or on our christmas day here or even this morning. I wanted to write something for your family..I wanted to have some words for them on these days...I thought I would let them know this is not a happy christmas for me either, and that I shared their sadness. I also thought I would tell them that I keep attached to my memories with you, and that, that is my way to forget about your absence for a minute or two..because when I think about the present or about the uncertainty of the future I lose my strength...I thought many times about logging in, but everytime I lost the impulse because I knew words would not be enough..and that I have probably said too much..without helping enough.. Many of your friends have written to me beautiful things encouraging me to keep writing here; I feel really glad of knowing my words are helping them..however, in spite of their words and as much I am committed to keep your legacy on this earth, I cant avoid thinking..I am making things worse for them, for your family and for everyone else that knew you and that perhaps..being really honest..this blog is just a selfish exercise to avoid letting you go. I wish I could know what would you liked...and I could be sure you had wanted me to keep your name and your memory out there..but knowing you as I knew you..sometimes I doubt you would. I dont know Jessica..maybe I should not doubt about writing here...but I am pesimistic these days.

Even though I came back from NOLA much more confident, I was counting the days for this year to finish...not because I think dates really matter...but just as an excuse, like someone that cant wait to begin writing on a fake blank optimism was weak and subtle but I was holding tight...until Tuesday night when a guy stole my purse..leaving me with nothing..feeling completely violated..I am not sad because of the stuff I lost...fortunately my family supported me with some of their Christmas presents...although I am going to miss my camara and some time will have to go until I can have the money to buy a new one..I am sad because the whole incident left me feeling weak, vulnerable, and afraid. I know you would understand how I feel, I can only hope that my camara and my purse had meant a happier christmas to someone less fortunate than me.
I miss you honey...and I know I am not alone in that..many others are missing you too..they have left me know they do... many Colombians are missing their loved ones too: soldiers and civilians that have been kidnapped for as many as 10 years...I am sorry for all them, they have been in my thoughts together with your family on the holidays, and I can only send them strength and hope.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I took this picture at Jessica's, I remember Cassie was there when I arrived that night, I also remember we drunk beers and talked (and complained!) about our never-ending subject.... This flower was Jessica's new "thing" that week, she always amazed us by having beautiful new plants around her house...this flower was so beautiful that I could not believe it was real!!

After four months it is still hard for me to realize you are not here. People might be tired sick of hearing me (reading me) saying that, but..God!....if they only knew what you were for me...
I am home now and I can't help myself remembering the plans we had made about you coming to visit my country, I remember how excited you were when I told you my parents did not speak liked the challenge! haha!, I also remember promising I would take you to see the Andes and the top of their mountains, the only places we have snow here...I promised, I would take you to the beach too and that I would cook delicious Colombian meals just for you. You were going to be my field "assistant" too, when I thought about studying Catasticta, those butterflies that lay their eggs on epiphytes at the top of tall trees in the cloud forest of the Andes...I remember how much we dreamt on spending weeks in the forest, watching all kinds of insects and plants..

I am planning in working in my Mardi Grass costume here, my mom is going to help me, since my sewing skills are basically none! haha. You know I never had the time or the "mood" of involving myself into a real Mardi Grass experience but next year it will be different..I want you to be proud of me wherever you are......I bet though, you can tell I've done many stupid things since you've been gone...but also you know how hard I am with please believe... I did all of that in trying to be truly faithful to who I am....just like you always were...if you just could known how many beautiful people you left in my may understand my reasons better....I have put myself into so many wonderful probably would not recognized me..ha!.

You always had beautiful words for I'm missing hearing them....I'm missing the calls, the emails, the text messages...even though you hated me for having "infected" you with all that cell phones tech...I know I am definitely a better person because I met you, and due to all the teachings you left in me...I am sure meeting you was the most wonderful thing I had in my life.

I wish I could fool myself and believe the emptiness and sadness are going to disappear whenever we find out who did this to you....I can't....I know nothing will bring you anger growths as I think this person lives a normal life..and enjoys everyday moments he/she avoided us of enjoying with you... I am tired of waiting...I hate seeing days pisses me off thinking people might have already forgotten about you..and, that they might believe you are just a number...just one more of some many killed in NOLA on 2008...I feel anger when I think again how unfair all of this is, because you did not deserve this, neither your family nor us. your absence is such a loss for me, and I know this pain will be my heart forever..

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thinking about you

Jessica, Jessa and me at the French Quarter festival, 2008.

and still wondering why...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Among other things

Since I saw you for the last time, that night of May, these last days you have been closer to me than ever. On Saturday we had a thanksgiving reunion at my house, and some people that knew you and loved you came to celebrate with me on your name. You would be happy in knowing that some of your friends are now my friends too and based only on that I can say the reunion was a complete success. I made sure they had a good time, with lot of food, drinks, dancing and laughs. They were there, when at the end of night I felt your absence and lost my heart, reminding me you are in everything we do together.
Your family will be in my thoughts tomorrow, I wish I could do something for them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Between you and me

The other day I went over all my videos and my old cell phone to see if I had a voice message...a video.. something to watch you talking or at least hear your voice..I could not find anything.
I want to pretend you can read this, it is painful to know I can not talk to you is heartbreaking... but for some reason I feel better writing here, again, pretending, you would read it.

You would be glad in knowing we are about to send the paper on Brassolis and Dynastor, yes, finally. It took us two years and we could not resolve the puzzle...but that is a result of course. The next step is definitely to review B. sophorae, the species that gave us all the is polytipical...I told you..!!..those species are #$@%. The other resource will be, of course!.. to use DNA..bahh..I miss that too..having you to talk all the bad things of DNA and how boring it is..but who knows if I will be the one doing the DNA stuff...I do not have money for Hamadryas much less for this guess the question will be open to someone else.
The paper is a beautiful one, Carla took some gorgeous pictures of the butterflies and I've received good comments on my drawings. I'm dedicating it to you, it is a special paper, my very first one on butterflies, there will be a small note in the acknowledgments.

Jeff Corwin is coming to UNO tomorrow, he is giving a talk at the arena, remember how we used to laugh watching his show at Animal Planet??..when he pretended eating the spiders and little frogs! haha!. He is good at what he does..regardless he is on tv..I guess you would have liked to go and see him, so I am going...I can't image how many kids are going to be there!! is going to be fun though..I have to find the way of kicking my students out of class earlier so I can go..I can always give extra credits to those that write a good review on his talk right?..ha!.

Love you and miss you every second of each day

Friday, November 14, 2008

Not forgotten

There is this song called "canciĆ³n urgente" (Urgent Song) that the great Cuban singer Silvio Rodriguez wrote about Cesar Sandino, a militant hero that fought against the US intervention in Nicaragua. I was listening to Silvio while I was working in the microscope, and I felt one part of his song exactly captured what I feel about Jessica. At comparing Sandino to Bolivar and the Che (he explicitly says the three of them walked the same road, namely fighting for the independence of our people, and the three also shared the same luck, death) Silvio remind us that, they three, left such a great legacy that they have fooled death.

Jessica did the same, she fooled death. In her very short life and in the short time I had the fortune of being her friend, Jessica left so many memories, so many teachings, such a legacy in our lives that if the aim of whoever did this to Jessica was to take her and, everything she represented, out of the picture, he/she is very much wrong. I am personally committed with this blog and anything else I can do, to make Jessica's life, this person's worst nightmare.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


I am going to walk the quarter today for you, so I can feel you close to me. I know how much you would like to be here my Jessica. I am missing you so much!!. Today I woke up so not know what happened..I thought I was getting better...I know you would not like to see me sad. Yesterday was a long day for me, I spent almost all day without seeing one person, it was just me and the computer. I woke up yesterday with so much anger for whoever did this to you and for how things happened that in my way to school, I only had awful thoughts, thoughts full of hate. I can't believe I spent your last days being with someone that, after so long and so much, betrayed me in such a way, instead of having been with you...that really breaks my heart honey. I know you never liked can't imagine how were August and September for me. They were probably the worse times I have had in my entire life. It was probably better you never knew what happened and never saw me in the state I was, I know you would had traveled all the way to Colombia to kick him at his b... I know you loved me, you told me so, many times. I remember the day you said it, you were the first in saying it, it was the first time I heard that from a made me feel important and appreciated.

I hate the fact that someone believe so much of himself/herself as to take your life and to leave this big scar in our lives. 
This weekend will be three months without you...I hope to be able to write something nicer later, I am unable of doing that that right now.  

Monday, November 3, 2008

silence, absence and sorrow

This picture was taken on November the first in the march against violence organized by a group called Peace for New Orleans leaded by Charles Anderson. Many thanks to them, for their support and the portraits they made to remember Jessica.

I am sure, I am not the only one to whom counseling has not been enough in helping to deal with Jessica's murder and absence. I know Kelly is going through the same state as me, even though we know we have each other, there is still a big gap of silence at the end of all our talks, a fear to uncertainty and anger for feeling so powerless. Kelly is my biggest support now, and I love her so much for being there always for me. Poor her, she has to answer my calls in the middle of the night, has to hear most of my problems (which I know are silly and ridicule, in comparison to most of the people in this world that struggle to survive and to get to the next day), no matter what she is there, always strong from the outside.

I promised to myself I would ever again take my friends for granted. Kelly, Jessica and I were looking forward for the opportunity to hang out together, but that never happened. This is how Kelly came into our lives.

Kelly and I became close friends a year ago or so. But we knew long before that, since we took (with Jessica) an entomology class together at UNO and since then I think we liked each other. We did not hang out while we were taking the class, it was my first semester here, I lived at the dorms and I was too worried about other things like doing well in graduate school, research, publications, a dissertation, etc.. to even think in making friends. Jessica was my first American friend, and she was the only one for a long period of time. She was the first person I took a bus with, and the first person I drunk a margarita with, I ought most of experiences in New Orleans to Jessica and of course to her unbeatable ability in persuading me to get out of the house and have fun. Back to Kelly...we ran into each other many times here at school, we would, over and over again exchange phone numbers, but we did not hang out until last year. Kelly invited me to the “Nickel a dance”, I went and the next week I had Jessica sick of me telling her about Kelly, and the great time we had had. Later I learned Kelly had admired the way I had arranged my entomological collection, I was liking her even more because of that..haha!!.

She and Jessica are much more alike than (I feel) I am to either of them, and that was why I felt that Jessica needed to meet Kelly again. Therefore, I started talking to each of them separately about the other one, pushing an encounter. I would tell Jessica how cool Kelly was, how gorgeous I thought her house was. I even made a comment that I knew would mean a lot to Jessica. Kelly did not have a TV either. I knew that was the key point, I used it and it worked. 

They became friends some time before I left for the summer. They started to work together and on several occasions they went out for dinner, drinks, and dancing. What appeared to me is that their pride prevented them from becoming fast friends, but allowed them to become honest friends. There were many things they would argue about just for the sake of disagreeing, but the one thing they would agree on is about a city that they both loved, New Orleans. A city that they believed held many experiences to enjoy. One time Jessica was complaining how she couldn’t believed that she had never had a Sazerac, Kelly promised to go to get one with her. She said since the Fairmont was closed, they could go to the Ritz’s smoking lounge and enjoy one. They planed to go one night. They planned to share many such evenings. They were to eat crab cakes and fried green tomatoes at the Pelican Club. Jessica loved crab cakes and enjoyed tasting them from all different restaurants and then compare as to which restaurant had the best crab cakes. They planned to listen to traditional jazz at the Palm Court. They planned to go to the Bywater art market and then take lunch somewhere in her neighborhood. Jessica loved her neighborhood. She would repeat that sentiment many times in an evening especially after happening upon a brass band Friday night on Frenchmen. Jessica had just recently donated to NPR her favorite radio station. She had donated a dollar a day and received a coupon book to eat at many of New Orleans’ fine restaurants. Kelly had told me, she called late one evening to her house all excited about sharing the coupons and trying all these restaurants that she had not known. Jessica knew how much Kelly enjoyed eating out by the many conversations that would revolve around food, service, and the rooms at restaurants. Jessica wanted very much to share with Kelly these new tastes and experiences to share these great New Orleans moments with another sister of NOLA . Kelly tells me, they would talk about what we, the three of us, were going to do once I came back from Colombia. They planned on going, the three of us, for salsa dancing and for chocolate martinis.

I tried chocolate martinis on Saturday, with Kelly and Diego, the famous chocolate martinis. We made a toast in honor of Jessica. It was hard to be there without her, because I know how much she wanted the three of us to hang out. We never did and the only thing I could do was to make sure I enjoyed every sip of my martini. Just like my Jessica would have liked. 

I think a lot of whoever did this to Jessica, I wish he/she could feel the silence, the emptiness, and the sorrow his/her actions leave in our life. I wish he/she could realize that this is killing us. All of us; but also, that he/she can stop the guilt and remorse, and give some peace to us and Jessica by facing the consequences and turning himself/herself in. It might be naive on my part to ask for this, but deep in our hearts and souls we know, we all make mistakes. We all know, also, there is always something we can do about it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Missing her badly

Thanks to Kelly for this picture of Jessica at her work in the insectarium.

Today, as everyday, I woke up thinking about Jessica...later, in the lab, I began to read again some of the hundreds of emails we exchanged during our friendship, a friendship that lasted only two years...

It is weird how life works...Jessica and I were so different, true, we had many passions in common (insects, music, dancing, independent movies), but our characters were opposite poles. In spite of it, we managed to keep our friendship alive after she left UNO to take a break from school...and some people here did not even know we kept being close friends. We did not use to hang out during the weeks, since she was busy working and I was always hectic with school...but Friday was always our favorite day to see each other..I guess that is why, Fridays are so much harder for me to deal with now, than Mondays...

Lately there were not many happy Fridays for us though..I guess we were both going through a 30-age crisis....("going out" became a very rare event).....I would leave school late and would stop by her house...there, we would share our drama, frustrations, dreams and complains always under the company of a beer or a glass of wine....talking about beer...I remember now a huge argument we had (probably in May) because I had paid $70 in a dinner with her...hahaha.

This is the story...we went to the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen and we both got (besides of the food) two of our favorite beer....framboise lambic (not sure about the spelling)..anyway, it is an expensive beer from Belgium....after the dinner, I got upset because I did not expect to pay that much....but I was owing her money....and she said, I did not need to pay her but instead, I should include that money to pay the check.....but still...even after that, $50 bucks in a meal was a lot of money for me!..hahaha I was probably being too tight..haha..but I am graduate student right? we began to walk home arguing on the streets..we both were very mad..complaining about each always...
...I am remembering that moment like if it were yesterday...

....I did not intend this post to be so long...I hope I am not boring the few people that read this...but doing this, it is the only way I can feel her close, it is the only way I can feel she is still with me....I started the post talking about our emails...and I would like to finish it with these, Jessica's last words for me in an email on July 29th:

Can't wait to see you again!!!

L, J.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Another month without Jessica

Yesterday two months ago Jessica was found in her apartment, another month is gone without her. I do not think there will be a day I will not think about her, or a day I will not think what she would say if I could tell her all the things I have in my heart now, and all the things are going on to our friends. 
I love you my Jessica, I am really missing you.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Jessica's memorial Part II

Many thanks to the Nola ninja girl, who took these pictures and helped Cassie with the memorial rearrangements.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Jessica's memorial in images Part I

Here are some pictures of Jessica's memorial that took place in New Orleans on October the 4th.
Many thanks to Ivan Soto, Laura Marin and Sarah Brock for these beautiful pictures.

This was the front of the second line, Cassie and her friends did this gorgeous banner.

As I said it before, it was a beautiful day in New Orleans.

Cassie and I during the second line.

Dr. Jerry Howard was Jessica's major professor at UNO. He reminded us the great scientist and student our Jessica was.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

About Jessica's memorial in New Orleans

Just a short note to let you all know, yesterday, we had the beautiful memorial for Jessica that for weeks Lee and Harold organized. Many friends attended the second line and later shared their thoughts and memories of Jessica at the Mother in Law lounge.
Unfortunately I do not have the pictures yet, but I felt I needed to let you all know that many people attended the memorial.
I want to thank Lee, Harold, Cassie and many others that contributed greatly either with their donations, work or presence to make this memorial a reality.
Everything was just perfect, a beautiful day: sunny but not hot and almost none humidity (a real rare day for New Orleans’ standards!), a yummy gumbo, the best New orlean music and what Jessica loved the most…a great crowd. Everything was just the way she would have liked.

Yesterday Jessica's spirit was all around and we confirmed, she will be with us forever.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A week without Jessica

But she is and she will be in our thoughts forever.

Jessica and her beloved brother, she was so proud of him..I particularly remember she could not help herself reminding us how good looking he is.

Jessica and I at a second line, 2007.

Jessica loved the brown leather purse she is wearing there.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

More of our Jessica

Here are some more of my memories with Jessica.
Some picts from her birthday last year and another one of her house.

Tatan! Present #1

it is a shirt!, she loved the color.

tatan! present #2

yeah it is a bubble gun for Ludwig and Leonard!.

Jessica y Drea

I did not get the idea of the picture!..I am sorry I got lost in the translation.
In the picture from left to right: me, Jessa, Jessica, Drea y Kim.

Jessica at her house two days before her birthday this year

Dear Friends of Jessica if you have pictures of her, please email them to me and I will put them in here. We also have a group in facebook to honor Jessica's legacy, in there you can put the pictures yourself.

Even though words are not enough

Jessica was a young, vibrant woman that enjoyed simple things: a good talk with a friend, a nice afternoon at the quarter, a beautiful garden, and a good meal. As a friend Jessica never asked me for anything, on the contrary she always wanted to do whatever I wanted to do, she was always looking to please me. During a couple of weeks that I had a strong craving for Indian food, she would tell me to stop by her house after school, she would prepare a whole Indian meal for me. She was my source of beautiful plants, never asking for anything in return.

Jessica had a degree in Botany from the University of Florida, and was going to come back to school to finish her Master at UNO. She was going to be one of our future experts in Pollination, subject in which she had published most of her scientific papers in. She loved bees and plants, and was an eager reader. Virginia Wolff was her favorite writer; her books were a treasure for her, before I left NOLA to come to Colombia for the summer I gave her back some of her books I had…. now I wish I had kept them.

Some weekends we would spend long nights dancing at her house her favorites: Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, or would head to the quarter for salsa dancing. I loved to see her happy, laughing to tears.

I will miss my friend everyday of my life, her emails, her jokes, I will miss her saying “ohhh my God, Ivonne stop!!!” while I shared with her all my drama.

The only thing Jessica asked us was to love her, the only thing she needed to live. We loved her and will love her forever. Whoever did this to my friend has to be sure we will not forget Jessica and he/she will not run away with this murder.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

R.I.P. Jessica Hawk 1976-2008

Catching bugs at City Park, 2007

French Quarter Festival, 2008

At school, 2007

The Mardi grass day, 2008.

At the French Quarter Festival, 2008.

Jessica with her cats, 2007.
A place in honor of our beloved friend Jessica Hawk who was murdered at her house in New Orleans. With this place we want to remember her so she can rest in peace knowing that many people loved her.

For Jessica's family all our love and support, we will do all we can so her life will not be forgotten and her death will not go unpunished.

Please if you have any information concerning Jessica's murder please call 5046585308 or 504 6585300. If you saw something or heard something Please do not hesitate to contact with us at these numbers.