Courtney Pitre, 36, has spent the past 20 months of the COVID-19 pandemic running herself ragged as the only pharmacist at the rural drug store she has owned for 8 years.
Pitre, an ice hockey goalie and bluegrass radio show host, has lost 25 pounds of muscle since the pandemic began to consume her life with work at her pharmacy in Arnaudville, Louisiana. Approximately 1,000 people live in Arnaudville at the junction of the Deux Bayous of the Teche and Fusilier.
When the vaccines first became publicly available in the spring, Pitre was giving shots seven days a week while trying to navigate supply chain issues that the pandemic caused specifically for drug stores.
Now, Pitre opens up shop at 6 a.m. every Tuesday for the only walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic for nearly 10 miles around the small Cajun town. At her store, she puts her first-name service and well-known face on vaccines that rural Louisiana communities have been slow to embrace.
“As a pharmacist and a health care person in a rural community, you realize there's so much, unfortunately, misinformation and confusion,” Pitre said. “We have to be a stable force for people. My job is to be stability in a storm of misinformation and confusion.”
This story is part of the special project "One and 100: One pandemic uprooted our lives. One hundred stories tell its impact on the South" To read more "One and 100" stories, click here