Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood & Bourbon
Soft-hearted social worker
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment to improve the world.”
Name: Isadora Jennifer Ward
Date of Birth: April 23rd, 1984 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Weight: 132 lbs
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Black
Education: B.A. Social Work (Southern University at New Orleans, 2003—2007)
Occupation: Social worker (2007—present)
Isadora and her twin brother Martin were born and raised in New Orleans and grew up in what can only be called a broken home. Her mother Debra was a drug addict with a severe, though undiagnosed case of narcissistic personality disorder which seemed to set her and her daughter in particular at odds from the very beginning. Isadora grew up desperately wanting to please her mother but never being able to, and eventually, as he saw the damage being done to his twins, Jacob Ward packed them up and moved out of the family home.
The small house they moved into in the 7th Ward was cramped but cozy, and there was far less yelling. While the twins had a lot of easy mac and hotdog dinners, their father was pinching pennies to pay for the lawyer that would keep his children with him and not their mother, who was trying all she could to get full custody. After years of shared custody, their mother finally lost full custody of Isadora when the court recognized that she was old enough to have input over where she wanted to live full time. From the age of 13 to 18, Isadora’s father had full custody of his daughter, though she was expected to visit her mother for holidays and birthdays. Martin, however, chose to continue visiting his mother on the weekends.
Following their 18th birthday, Isadora cut all ties with her mother, while Martin continued to be involved in their mother’s life. Martin moved in with their mother to support her “and her recovery,” while Isadora continued to live with her father while attending Tulane and pursuing a degree in social work. The twins grew less and less close as the years wore on, with Martin constantly playing the go-between for his mother in her attempts to make contact with Isadora and guilt her into re-establishing their relationship. Isadora’s unwavering refusal to let the toxicity of her mother’s treatment and behavior back into her life eventually served to push her brother away until the two all but ignore each other’s existence outside of special events when they’re around their father. She feels the aching loss of him every day, and all but grieves what feels like the loss of the other piece of her soul after every meeting ends.
While in college, Isadora got involved in a local cat rescue program, primarily in helping to catch ferals and get them spayed and neutered before being re-released, but she’s also been known to take in litters of kittens and their mothers when the rescue group is struggling to find a foster who can handle the load. During her time in college, she fell into a whirlwind affair she believed was predicated on romance with a professor at Tulane. When she came up pregnant some months later, he pressured her into quietly dealing with the pregnancy and abandoned her to go through the pregnancy and subsequent adoption process alone. The two haven’t willingly spoken since, and she’s never been the same.
Isadora moved out of her father’s house in her junior year of college, and following being hired on as a full-time social worker, moved from a shared apartment with a fellow college student into her own small two-bedroom apartment. Her salary being what it is, she’s remained there for over a decade since. The spare bedroom is something of a multi-purpose room, serving as a guest room most of the time, but also as a room for the occasional foster kittens she handles.
• Carla Rivera: Isadora knows, but will be the last person to ever say anything about Carla’s status. Instead, she volunteers as a free babysitter, and when pride gets in the way of that “handout”, offers babysitting services in exchange for someone cleaning up her already fairly tidy apartment. The two occasionally work on their college courses together, and Isadora is deeply appreciative of Carla’s superior grasp of mathematics.
• Chelsea Donaldson: Chelsea is Isadora’s semi-frequent “gym buddy”. She can’t really call her a close friend beyond that because they are so wildly different—Chelsea is happy with her mediocrity, but Isadora can’t help but be driven to constantly improve her lot in life. Isadora does her best not to make Chelsea feel pressured to follow in her footsteps but does her best to gently nudge her out of her rut as much as she can.
• Courtney Dale: Isadora originally met Courtney through work, she was constantly in and out of the coroner’s office in an effort to make Amos’s life easier by coming to him instead of setting up meetings at separate places, but the two quickly became friendly and she took to inviting Courtney out to hang with her and Yana. The three have become casual, and sometimes tight-knit, friends.
• Yana el-Abdou: Another social worker, Isadora and Yana have kind of “come up in the ranks” together. The two spend a lot of time outside of working hours decompressing together, whether that be going to movies or art showings or the gym. Isadora’s even worked to get Yana involved in the animal rescue organizations she’s a part of, and Yana’s one of the few people to see Isadora’s utter heartbreak when a case goes south and she can’t stop the inevitable.
• Ashton Hibbs: Ashton’s such a sweet guy, and so intensely good, Isadora really could have had something special with him. Unfortunately, just a couple of dates into their short stint, he found out she is agnostic at best and that was that. Now the two are in an awkward friendship that seems constantly on the verge of tumbling them both into bed. The physical chemistry is intense.
• Brandon Eriks: It was by complete chance that Isadora and Brandon met. He was on one of his usual pro-active patrols when a call went out about a social worker being assaulted. Brandon was the closest, and showed up just in time to stop an addict father from breaking in her car window after she’d taken shelter in the back seat after he’d lashed out at her for showing up on a welfare check of his children. That he stopped in to check on her at the office a few days later had nothing to do with how stunning she was, and that they somehow ended up back at her place after a few drinks and plenty of kisses to the bruise on her jaw was merely coincidence. Yep. Definitely.
• Earl Hager: Isadora can only explain her involvement with Earl Hager as a brief, unpleasant affair. To others, this usually implies that the two weren’t well suited and broke things off when they got toxic. But to Isadora, this is the cover story for what were some of the most terrifying weeks of her life. The first few months of their relationship were pleasant enough. Earl was gruff and perhaps a little rougher in bed than she was used to, but he’d never been blatantly unkind or hurt her. Then, on a day she’d hoped they could celebrate her recent pay raise, when she’d had the “bitchiness” to be upset he’d stood her up at the restaurant they’d agreed to meet at, he’d slapped her hard enough to knock her off her feet. What followed was a three-week cycle of increasing violence that culminated in Isadora having to take half a week off work to hide in her home until the bruises faded enough to be covered with makeup before she could go back to work. She had her locks changed and broke things off with Earl, and while things haven’t gotten violent since, Isadora has the creeping feeling that she’s being watched. So far she hasn’t linked the things missing from her small yard and porch with that, but it’s only a matter of time before Earl’s no longer content to keep a menacing distance.
Most of these are probably people Isadora met through her work, but many of them have become friends outside of a professional capacity.
• Amos Dufrene Wilkinson: Perhaps one of Isadora’s first professional contacts, during one of her first cases trying to help a homeless veteran get onto the benefits he was entitled to and into a shelter or group home, he was killed in what the police could only guess was a turf scuffle. They never found his killer, and when no family showed up to identify him, Isadora was not only the one to do so, but was the only person to be there for his funeral.
• Howard McMillian: Isadora has all but stopped sending people to Dr. McMillian, primarily because she’s gotten cornered in conversations it was hard to get out of when he wanted to talk about his “health problems”. He’s a nice man and seems like he’s good at his job, but it’s hard to keep interfacing with someone who just makes her so deeply uncomfortable.
• Lilian Araceli: A bit on the stereotypical side in her how does that make you feel? approach, but Lilian seems to have a similar interest to Isadora in wanting to help troubled families and give kids a chance at happy home lives. The truth is, she kind of wishes someone like Lilian had been around when she was growing up. That might have helped her get past her issues with her mother sooner. Maybe she wouldn’t have fallen into relationships with people who used her and dropped her when things got messy.
• Madison Howards: And then there’s Madison. A good option for those the social safety net can’t help in regards to therapy, and Isadora has found she can enjoy a drink with her after work on occasion, but she’s kept pretty tight-lipped about her traumatic history when around Madison since hearing about some of the complaints she’s gotten.
People Isadora has met through her time with charitable organizations, such as helping to catch feral cats to take them to be spayed or neutered. Unfortunately, there is a large overlap between poverty and homeless animals.
• Bartosz Blazcewicz: Primarily known through her work with local rescue organizations dealing with local feral cat populations, Isadora came to understand quickly that Bartosz was willing to look the other way when dealing with less furry clientele. Since then, she has occasionally brought in people whom she knew needed help but that she could not acquire help in a timely enough manner. It’s not something she should be doing, but bleeding hearts rarely take no for an answer.
• Larry Simpson: Isadora is, for all intents and purposes, Larry’s biggest fan and biggest headache. She’s not a genuine fangirl, but rather has an understanding of just how much wealth he rakes in, and how much she thinks should be going back into the community. If there’s a charity drive or a new nonprofit trying to get its feet under it to help the communities of New Orleans, Larry’s is the first door Isadora knocks on in hopes of securing a pledge.
• Shelby Wright: Half someone Isadora interfaces with for charity work, and half someone Isadora interfaces with for work, Shelby has an intense amount of respect from the young social worker, and Isadora actively seeks to learn something every time the two get together. She’s happy to let Shelby take the reins in most situations, and tries to soak in all the knowledge she can in hopes it will better help her with her work. It doesn’t hurt that Shelby has her pulse on the city’s poor and disenfranchised communities, and can point Isadora toward people she might not have otherwise known to help.
People Isadora has largely encountered during her time as a social worker and in her charity work.
• Chaz Chance: Chaz, and by extension his family, is one of Isadora’s frequent cases. Every time he gets snatched up on a minor charge, or gets fingered by another caseworker, Isadora is there to bail him out and plead his case with the authorities. He’s a kid who has had a rough life, and as someone who grew up with an addict for a mother herself, she sees more of herself in him than she’d probably like to admit.
• Desire: Another frequent case, Isadora has found herself as a caseworker when Desire has been picked up by the police. She’s far from a lawyer, but she’s actively trying to get Desire out of the life before she ends up as dead as her friend did.
• Joseph “Joey” Sanchagrin: One of Isadora’s cases, she inherited his file from a retiring social worker. She’s only met him a couple of times, mostly to introduce herself and to follow up on a note in his file, so she knows nothing about his ability.
• Howard Sloan: Isadora’s work as a social worker has put her in contact with nearly every lawyer involved in criminal cases in New Orleans—defense and prosecution alike. She’s not hugely close with any of them, though she has enjoyed her time with Howard Sloan more than most others. His well-meaning nature seems enough to endear him to her, but the cuteness of his dog doesn’t hurt at all.
• 1. Jacob Ward (b. 1953) + Debra Ward (née Singleton) (b. 1956)
• 2. Isadora Ward (b. 1984)
• 2. Martin Ward (b. 1984)