‘She was always there’

Grambling State University psychology professor Zinnia LaShay Livingston Blake was killed Monday morning in an automobile accident on the way to work, according to The Monroe News-Star. Blake appeared to be traveling on Louisiana 507 in Bienville Parish one mile east of Southern Natural Gas Co.’s Bear Creek Storage when her vehicle overturned. Blake’s 5-year-old daughter Haley was reported dead at the scene. Blake was later airlifted to LSU Medical Center-Shreveport, where she was pronounced dead. Two other children, Dexter, 8, and Caleb, 2, were taken to a nearby hospital, according to The News-Star. Caleb is on a respirator, and Dexter, who was also taken to Shreveport, is listed in stable condition with life-threatening injuries.

Blake’s other two children, 11-year-old Lindsey and 9-year-old Shelby, were taken to a Minden hospital with minor injuries.

Dr. LaWanna Gunn-Williams said Blake was a very intelligent and positive individual. “Each morning I would listen to her come in and say ‘How is every body doing this morning,'” Gunn-Williams said. She added that students and faculty loved Blake, who was a positive spirit to have around.

“Dr. Blake always had a positive attitude on life,” Courtney Samuels said. “As long as I can remember her, she never had a bad day and she never let me settle for less.”

Psychology major Shankia Nealy was Blake’s student and also a student worker under Blake. Nealy said Blake loved being around her children and that she always lent an ear to listen whenever someone had a problem.

“She was like my mother away from home because she was always there when I needed her,” Nealy said. “I also would baby-sit for her and I’m truly going to miss her.