Diane Africk

b. 1952

Diane (Katz) Africk was born in 1952 to a family deeply rooted in the New Orleans area for generations.  She attended the Newman School from kindergarten through high school.  After graduating, she attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and then returned to New Orleans to become a doctor at the Tulane Medical School.  She is a member of Touro Synagogue, where she was confirmed and later made an adult b'nai mitzvah.  Diane has four children and went through a difficult divorce, which significantly affected her psychologically and spiritually.  Diane is a pediatric neurologist who worked for over thirty years at Tulane Medical Center.   

Scope and Content Note

Africk describes her family's history in New Orleans and her early experiences in the city, both generally and as a Jew.  Africk discusses her confirmation at Touro Synagogue in New Orleans and her children's Jewish education.  Africk mentions the importance of her Jewish identity at Tulane and shares stories of her training and career.  Diane identifies strongly with her Jewish heritage but is drawn to other religions, like Catholicism.  Over the last few years has cultivated a deep spirituality and connection to God, which she credits as helping her through some very challenging times in her life.  Diane mentions her reluctance to leave her home during Katerina based on her past experiences with hurricanes.  Then, she realized that this storm was different.  She describes the fear and confusion due to the rising floodwaters the following day.  While her house sustained only limited damage, her mother's house was destroyed.  Africk describes her evacuation amidst the increasing floodwaters to Houston and then to Baton Rouge.  She stayed there with her mother for a few months, but both of them experienced depression and lethargy.  Africk managed to find some work and made the arduous journey to New Orleans several times a week, unable to move back permanently until October.  She details the extent of the damage and the loss of her childhood home.  She enumerates the incompetence of the government during and following the storm. 


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox

Read the latest from JWA from your inbox.

sign up now

How to cite this page

Oral History of Diane Africk. Interviewed by Rosalind Hinton. 11 July 2007. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on April 17, 2024) <http://jwa.org/oralhistories/africk-diane>.

Oral History of Diane Africk by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.