Local Photo Exhibit of Images from the Gulf Coast

While I was in Gulfport, MS, I had the pleasure of meeting photographer and activist, Lolita Parker, Jr., who is from Boston and has, since October, been spending 13 days per month in Gulfport, taking photographs and assisting Derrick Evans with Turkey Creek Community Initiatives.

Lolita has an exhibition of her photos from the Gulf, “Heartbreak, Hope & Healing,” at the West End Branch Boston Public Library, through February 25, 151 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA 02114. For more information please call 617-523-3957.

There is a reception Thursday, February 16, 6:00 – 7:30 PM.

I’ve seen some of Lolita’s photos, and they are great—and so is she. You can check out her professional website and her photo blog to see more of her work.

Photo: By Lolita Parker, Jr. Oct 27th, 2005 – Gulfport, Mississippi: Mrs. Christene Brice (far right) of Worker’s Helping Youth (WHY) recounts human rights violations endured by residents of Gulfport’s Edgewood Manor in the days and weeks following Hurricane Katrina.

Shone (II): "He was like, no, I can't see it, I don't have time."

Shone’s terrible experience did not end when the water receded from her mother’s house. This part of her story picks up later in the day on August 29, 2005, after Hurricane Katrina had died down:

We sat in the livin’ room for a while. We was like, nobody’s gonna be able to move around until tomorrow. We started planin’ to find some dry stuff to make beds and stuff like that. And I was sittin’ on this cooler, but it was like right by a window. And I told my friend, he was sittin’ on a refrigerator that floated from the kitchen to the living room. The blind was still down, and I was like, I see some’in’ green movin’. I said, look out that window. He was like, I don’t think nobody out there. My mama was like, nobody’s out there. And he lifted up the window. He said, yeah there some people out here. And we started yellin’ help, and they came over. It was some firemen. And they was like, do y’all wanna get out. You was like, yeah, there’s nothin’ else for us to do in here. Yeah, we want to get out, we definitely want to get out.

They had to take us out and take us around this house we had smashed into. It took me so long because none of us had shoes, and the mud was so thick, we kept slidin’. So I was like, I’m a get off the concrete sidewalk. I’m a walk in the grass. And it would be better for me. A few feet more, I fell in a well up to my neck.

So we sittin’ there. I’m tryin’ a get out the well. They was pullin’ me. I was like, let me go. Let me pull out the well with just my arms. And this other fireman came runnin’ over, and he was like, where is the hole, I don’t see the hole. He fell in a hole, in the well with me.

So finally we got out the well. He was like, you not gonna be able to walk through here without no shoes on because nails and boards was everywhere. He was like, I want you to sit on this porch, and he was like, we gonna come back and get you. And he ran up to the front, he told my friend, we need you to sit here with her. We gonna send somebody back for y’all.

We set there until 9:00 the next day [Tuesday morning].

But there was nowhere to go. Everything was down. Trees was down. One end of the street was blocked. We couldn’t get through it cause trees and boats and stuff was every where.

So we set there and set there. They never came back and got us. They never came back to check on us. So finally I was like, we can’t stay down here no longer. I said, it’s gettin’ dark again. Cause I was scared that night, because anythin’ coulda happened down there. So I kept askin’ people, and people was like, I don’t have a car, I’m just tryin’ to get through here to check on my house, this and that.

Finally I said, here come a ride. It was a state trooper.

Next door to my mom lives a state trooper. And over on the other side of the street is a state trooper. I went to school with them. So when he pulled in I said, Jason. I said, could you please give me a ride outa here. He was like, no, I can’t see it, I don’t have time. He was like, I got things to do. He was like, no. I said, I need a ride outa here. I said, I’ve been down here all night. He said, I can’t see it. I called him by name because, like I said, I watched him grow up.

So he went around the corner, and when he came back I was still standin’ on that corner. He at least had two people on a side of him, and it was like five in the back. Filled up his car with white people.

And he just rode off. I set there like three more hours, and finally a guy and his wife came through and gave me a ride home.

I thought I was gonna have to stay there all night.

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