Jermaine, 30, is from the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. This interview was conducted September 9, 2005, in the park across the street from the George R. Brown Convention Center, in Houston, Texas. When I met Jermaine, he was leaning against the base of a statue talking with other young men. He spoke with gold dental “fronts” top and bottom. He appeared to be stoned. At first, he was reluctant to be interviewed, but then he relented. He would not allow me to record or photograph him.
I’m straight. For most people this is a new beginning. A lot of people want to go home but they ain’t no more.
You see, I’m alright. There’s new opportunities. You can become the person you’re supposed to be.
I’ve been here four days. They treat you with love. They’re giving you so much love.
[He walks away. He returns, suddenly angry]
In the water all the way to the roof! I saw people with axes. Saw dead people floating tied to the posts. It should be more! Should mean more! When I close my eyes I still see the people tied to the posts. Red Xs on their houses. That shit real. Kids gotta see that. They sure fucked over the black people. They could have sent buses. They could have done something.
[He walks away again. He returns, suddenly calm]
God works in mysterious ways. For those that have good hearts.
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