The discovery of a man’s body in an abandoned, grassy lot in New Orleans East on Sunday morning sent reverberations through the city’s civic community Monday as word began to spread that the victim was the son of former Orleans Parish School Board member Heidi Lovett Daniels.
Few details are known about the death of 20-year-old Nnamdi Louis, other than it appeared that his body may have been on the ground for some time before it was discovered in the 8100 block of Paris Road. He had been shot several times.
Confirmation of Louis’ identity from the Coroner’s Office prompted a cascade of condolences from friends and civic leaders.
His father, Richard Louis, fought through tears to describe what his son meant to him in a telephone interview Monday.
“All of us are shaken to the core regarding Nnamdi’s loss,” said Louis, an administrator at Broward College in Florida. “It is my hope that somebody, that anybody who reads about it knows that he mattered, he mattered to us. And to the people who took him from us — that if they’re not brought to the justice of man, that they will be brought before the justice of God.”
Nnamdi’s stepfather is Flozell Daniels Jr., president and CEO of the Foundation for Louisiana.
Richard Louis said he and Heidi Lovett Daniels named their son after a Nigerian word meaning “worthy of my father’s love.”
“And every day, every day he lived his life more than worthy of my love,” Louis said.
The couple separated in 1997, and Lovett went on to marry Daniels.
After graduating from McDonogh No. 35 High School, Richard Louis said, his son studied at Broward College, then attended classes at Nicholls State University. Finally, he returned to New Orleans, where he worked in construction and lived with his girlfriend.
“Unfettered gun violence must stop because our children cannot keep dying,” Louis said. “My child is gone, but I hope that in the aftermath of Nnamdi’s passing that someone will take a stand and say his life mattered.”
Many prominent voices from New Orleans’ political and philanthropic circles joined the chorus of grief Monday. Several of them posted to Flozell Daniels’ Facebook page.
“Flozell, mere words cannot convey the depth of my condolences for your tragic loss,” Civil District Court Judge Kern Reese wrote.
“I am so very sorry for your loss,” wrote Miranda Restovic, the president and executive director of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. “Nnamdi will forever be etched in my heart as an exceptionally special boy ... happy, loving, energetic, fidgety, funny, big smile.”
“My heart is broken for you, my friend,” lobbyist Rodney Braxton wrote.
Police asked anyone with information to call Homicide Detective Bruce Brueggeman at (504) 658-5300 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.