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243 families will be missing a loved one this Thanksgiving in New Orleans

It's a time for giving thanks and celebrating life instead some families are setting one less plate these holidays.

NEW ORLEANS — Thanksgiving is a time when loved ones all come together to give thanks, but some families are missing a table setting this year.

Two-hundred-and-forty-three New Orleans families have lost a child, mother, father or sibling to violence this year alone. Those families remembering the person they lost instead of celebrating life.

Eyewitness News sat down with Nekisha McGlothen, who's going into the holiday season without her teenage son.

“It's hard every day, but it’s harder with holidays," McGlothen said. "It’s the time to have family from near and far around just having all these people from out of town, and somebody that’s supposed to be here with me every day is not.”

McGlothen will never again sit beside her son at the Thanksgiving table. Her 15-year-old Khyron Nellon was shot and killed last August on Iberville Street. Three others were shot and injured in that shooting.

“If I am at the grocery store and walk past his favorite snack it brings back a memory,” she said. 

McGlothen says the strength to sit down with WWL-TV days before Thanksgiving comes from her six other children, and her son’s memory. Khyon’s picture hangs close to her heart.

“When I find myself holding my head down, I need to pull my head up, because he would’ve wanted me to keep going," she said.

Michael Willis, founder of the HOPE Organization, a non-profit aimed at solving the city’s crime problem, says more needs to be done to keep kids occupied when school is out.

“We're still the murder capital of the United States of America," Willis said. “If the kids don’t have nothing to do, what you think they’re going to do?”

According to New Orleans Police, there were eight robberies with a weapon, five shootings, two murders and six carjackings in the past five days in New Orleans.

“We’re already seeing what’s going on while they have a couple of babysitters, which is school facilities," Willis said. "So, now they at home, they have to find a way to feed themselves.”

Khyon’s favorite part about the holidays was his grandma’s sweet potato pie. Last year, his family remembered him by eating sweet potato pie a his gravesite.

Credit: Nekisha McGlothen

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