"I’m the first child out of five and my mom was a single parent. I said, ‘When I ever grow up, I’m going to own my own house.’ And the dream came true. It’s exciting. You’re going to really think I’m cuckoo and insane. I first walked through the back door, I went down on my knees, I was crying. I was like, ‘This my room?’ I said, ‘Oh lord!’ And the neighbors was seeing me crying because I had all the lights on ‘cause I came in at night time. And the people was at the stop sign looking at me and I was like ‘Ahhhh! This is my house!! I’m your neighbor now!’"
“I feel like after you go through heartbreak you’re supposed to be wiser. You’re supposed to have words of wisdom. And I feel like coming out the other side of it - and I’m still so in it I’m not even on the other side yet - it’s like… when am I going to be wise? When am I going to be past this? And I don’t know. You’re in it until you’re not… it’s just another thing that you don’t have control over. That’s such a big thing right now for me - having acceptance of the things I have control over, but really having acceptance of the things that I don’t have control over… which is so much.”
“Drew Brees knows who I am. For three years I pranked the Saints rookies. Coach Payton would give all the Saints players a ticket to go get a turkey at Rouses. And I would play the store manager and act like I didn’t believe that the rookies were really Saints players. My favorite one was Jimmy Graham. Jimmy Graham’s like ‘I don’t have to explain to you or anybody who I am!’ and I’m like ‘Well you actually do if you want these turkeys.’ It was kind of comical but also kind of belittling to have these big huge guys yelling at me.”
"I’m 28 years old and I have four kids, and the father of my kids, he stole my innocence. He stole everything that was good of me. He’s like a vampire. I had to regenerate and reintegrate myself because I wasn’t going to let what he did tear me down. I don’t want to be victimized and play the victim. I’m not going to play the victim. I want to be a fighter. There’s a lot of women out here that are suffering, that feel like they have to be enslaved to a man for survival when they don’t."
“When I lost my first child, I had a little girl, that was the saddest moment. She came out her mama’s stomach stillborn. I took it hard. Sometimes you gotta deal with it. They can’t bring ‘em back. After that I had him. I said maybe I wasn’t meant to have a little girl, so I got a son now.”
"All my life I’ve been reared right here and there’s just something about New Orleans. I knew it pretty well and I was pretty well liked here as an individual. And I missed numerous people. A lot of them didn’t return, but still in all there was something about New Orleans. I wanted to return.”
“You want to hear my side of the story? I wanted to stay out in Atlanta and live out there. ‘Oh no, we going home’ he said! I had to go with my husband. I wouldn’t let nobody else get him!”
“We’re actually going to marry next year. I don’t know how I’m going to adjust myself to his culture because I’ll have to live in India. For example, women can not wear the same clothes. We have to wear long dresses, we cannot wear short. When he said to me ‘you have to do like this when you come to India’ I was like ‘why do I have to follow that?’ But when I search more by myself about his culture, I feel more interested. You have to give your partner a chance to learn about your culture on their own.”
“I have two children and both of them are wonderful kids. I just - that’s a point of pride for me. I enjoy being around them.”
“What would be your advice for parents that want that kind of relationship?”
“Love your kids and don’t cling to them. Don’t get your self-worth from your kids. Don’t make them dependent upon you. Teach them to think for themselves and give them room to do that.”
“Even though I’ve been homeless since August 1st, last night was the first night I had to sleep on the ground. I’m not as hopeful and cheery as I usually am. I’ve taken a blow to my self esteem and dignity. I got evicted out of my house. My house was 2,000 square feet and I pretty much ran a homeless shelter there. I took in anybody that looked like they didn’t have a place to stay.”
“I adopted my daughter when she was 5 years old. She was born in New York. She speaks English. She’s handicapped. I love the mama of her. She is my wife. She comes from Honduras. She doesn’t speak English. My daughter, she understands because she translates English to Spanish for my wife.”
"We’ve been married for 38 years. She is 79 years old on September 18th. September is for special people."
"In my 7th grade year when I first moved back down here I kept getting in fights ‘cause these girls were picking on me. But now I’m cool with one of the girls I had a fight with. I’m kind of the godmother of her child. That’s the craziest thing about New Orleans people… we might fight but the next couple of days or months we’re cool."
"I came here from the Philippines in 1979 with two big suitcases. It was kind of scary because I didn’t know anybody… I came to work at the Methodist hospital. Two years later I met my husband and we started dating. Three years later we got married. We’re going to be married 30 years in October.”
“What’s your advice for a good long marriage?”
“Just relax. Give and take. When he’s mad, I don’t say anything. I don’t argue. Because he’s not going to hear me! So I just wait for my moment…”
"They come home sometimes saying words that I didn’t know until I got into the real world. Like, take her. She did something that she wasn’t supposed to do - nothing major - and I told her that I was going to leave her in the house by herself. She breaks down crying. I said ‘what are you crying for?’ And she’s like ‘You’re being facetious!’ I’m like ‘Huh? Excuse me?’ And then he looks at me and says ‘Dad…facetious… it means you’re fooling around.’"
"My friend got murdered in 2010 on St. Roch Avenue. I think the wake of that was the saddest I’ve ever been, because of the loss of a friend and because what should be societal help and support systems were very corrupt and very nonchalant.”
“Usually we talk about place in the world: how do you fit in? Because Bywater’s really interesting. His neighbor has lived in Bywater his whole life and has seen it transition quite a bit. We talk about what it means for our presence to be here and how it changes the environment and how – do you resist change or do you not resist that change? You’re part of it because you’re in it, and at the same time you may not be agreeing with the change. But you are part of it so it’s impossible to separate yourself from that.”