Law enforcement was a family affair for Natasha Hunter. Of course when you grow up one of 11 children, a lot of things are family affairs. All told, Natasha was one of seven of those kids to go into law enforcement in the greater New Orleans area.
Natasha’s watch started in chaos: Her first day of active duty came in 2005 amid the response to Hurricane Katrina, which would devastate the city. “She didn’t know how to swim, but she didn’t run away,” Mitch Landrieu, then the mayor, recalled at Natasha’s funeral 11 years later. “She ran to where everybody needed her help.”
She would spend 11 years on the force, helping the New Orleans community first in the department’s 5th district and then its 1st. A determined cop, she also had a lighter side: She loved taking selfies. “I’m absolutely sure that right now in heaven, if she had a cellphone, she’d be taking a selfie – after giving God praise, of course,” former New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Michael Harrison quipped at her funeral.
On June 4, 2016, Natasha had a phone call with her sister, Jacquen. “Be safe,” the younger sibling told Natasha. Early the next morning, Natasha was helping to clear the site of an hours-old crash when a drunk driver slammed his Acura into her parked patrol car. She died of her injuries two days later. She was survived by her five-year-old daughter, Jasmine.
Natasha’s watch ended in a heavy, driving rain. Hundreds of police officers, some from as far away as Texas and Georgia, stood in attention outside the Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church. Inside, Bishop Douglas Wiley Taylor paused his eulogy for a rumbling thunderclap. “Y’all hear that thunder?” he asked. “That’s Natasha telling me, ‘I made it, bishop.’”