This Book Is Dedication To MY PARENTS Jessie & Sabrina McDonald I pray I have made you proud, for my life’s work

is dedicated to being the best me I can be, and making the sacrifices you made for me count for something while I continue on my journey. & TO MY CHILDREN You are all my inspiration, and it’s through your life that I pray, the dreams and aspirations of my ancestors will continue be realized.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank my father, JESSIE FRANK MCDONALD SR., whose resolve was to see me become a man, and my mother, SABRINA BATISTE MCDONALD, who taught me the pen, the power of the written word, and the appreciation of literature and the arts. To my paternal and maternal grandparents, HARRY & GERTIE MITCHELL and LOUIS & SHIRLEY BATISTE, whose wisdom and love have been the foundation upon which I stand resolute, undeterred and unafraid. I also would like to thank my high school English teacher, MRS TICKLE, who told me that I had the natural ability to write and encouraged me to do so. To my Jr. High English teacher, MRS GLENDA WILLIAMS, who told me how brilliant and intelligent I was, and also encouraged me to accept nothing but the best. Lasting gratitude to, RICHARD (RICKY) BANKS, who believed in me enough to help me take my ACT test to get into college. A special thank you, goes to out, MRS KATHY BEIDENHORN, without her City Of Faith half-way-house, I may have ended up just another statistic on the streets of the city of New Orleans. To all of the friends I left behind in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, your memories and all that I learned from you, will forever be with me. A final thanks to my editor, who has been as patient with me as a parent to a child, thank you for all of your wisdom and encouragement…

GONE TOO SOON BUT NOT FORGOTTEN… IN THE MEMORY OF

Willis Batiste, Quintrell (Duke) Rose, Ron François, Gregory (Lil Greg) Francois, Torrence Stokes, John Mitchell, Diane Mitchell, Terrance (Tish) Carruth, Greg (Downtown) Fervin, Michael Fervin, Irvin Brooks, Herbert (Tiger) Wallace Jr., Frank (Button) Scott, Ronnie Wells, White Boy Bruce, Dyke, Pee Wee, Scobe, Stanford, Wimp, Gary (Big Gee) Veal, Harry (3 rd) Ingram, Terrance (Boo) Hawkins, Renny, Big Rocky, Derrick (Blake) Richardson, Lemont (Spark), Lil Warren, Ray Lotten, Michael Simmons, Auther (Bru Cole) Cole, Terry Lee, Isaac (Ike) Wilson, Dedra Clemons, Antoinette Collins, Tom, Jelly Roll, Troy (Boot Mouth T-Roy) Gray, David L. Owens, Big Taco, Cedric (Snake) Jones

McDonald, Corey (2012-01-22). Only The Strong Will Survive: Life In The Hells Of North America. Random House, Inc..Copyright ©2012 Corey McDonald

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All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc, New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto Originally published by Random House, a division of Random House, Inc, New York, in 2012.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data McDonald, Corey Only The Strong Will Survive: Life In The Hells Of North America / Corey McDonald p cm eISBN: 978-0-307-78768-2 1. McDonald, Corey 2 Afro-Americans—Biography 3. Business—United States—Biography. 4 AfroAmerican youth. 5. Afro-American men I Title

COREY MCDONALD ONLY THE STRONG WILL SURVIVE
Corey McDonald grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana. He studied business management & marketing at North East Louisiana State University after serving five years in prison. He worked in upper management positions for CRO inc, Brinker International, FWC Inc, and VBoys Inc. He specialized in management recruitment, training, and retention. After numerous business ventures, he went on to work in the transportation industry and start his own logistics company.

Only The Strong Will Survive
Life In The Hells Of North America

Corey McDonald

Table of Contents
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. Young Black Prince Family Of Outlaws Until Death Do Us Part The House Of McDonald Death In Multiples Of three House Of the Good Shepherd Jezebel and The Angel Seeds Of Life The Kings Family God In Person None Kept What Was Given Down Hells Path We Travel Prisoner Of War Battle Between God and Devil The Resurrections Of Christ Old Soup Reheated Pimp Or Die War In The House Of God Journey Out Of Egypt Death Of Superman The House Of Il-Repute A High Tide Lifts All Boats Trails Of Job When God Stopped Speaking To Man Death Of Lazarus Cleanse This Temple Of God Second Coming Of Christ Peace and Rest On The Seventh Day Imps Of The Devil A House Divided Crossing The Red Sea 18 Wheels To Freedom Where Do We Go From Here I’ve Seen The Promise Land Inspirations In The Book Of Life Only The Strong Can Survive

Illegitimate
By Shadid Mabatu

I am the product of American society. Oppressed, repressed, poor, underprivileged, underemployed, unemployable, violent, destructive, uneducated, undesirable, downtrodden, self-hating, and beat down. Corrupted and mis-educated by, television, video games, magazines, public schooling, institutions of higher so-called learning, the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. I’m Willie Lynch’s perfected by product.

Forgotten about and ignored. Marginalized and systematically brain washed. Left behind as a forth class citizen. The baby of America, a sick baby created by a sick and perverted nation. As the country die’s a slow moral death, my moral degeneration is accelerated as I continue to follow their example with my ultimate demise just over the horizon.

Welfare, food stamps, section 8 housing and the government has taken away the little manhood I had left. No longer needed or wanted, I turn to the great American pass time of self-indulgence and self-destruction. Drugs, alcohol, domestic violence, rape, child molestation, incest, murder, penitentiary’s and with an early grave as my final destination. I am the epitome of the domestic policy of America. I am the American dream that never came true. Her experiment and project living in the projects. Her sore thumb, her lie about the pie. Her little black secret on her black list in her black book. I’ve been called so many names I don’t know who or what I am. A slave, nigger, negro, afro-American, African American, colored, spook, coon, spade, bush boogie, jungle bunny, pickanenny, sambo, half breed, oreo, house nigger, field nigger, black buck, mullatto, quadroon, and uncle tom. The scum of the earth. America’s baby. America’s family. America’s 400 year old illegitimate son.

When My Mother Died, I Learned To Endure When My Father Became a Junkie, I Learned To Fight When My Wife and I Parted, I Learned To Accept When I Went To Penitentiary, I Learned The Importance Of Change

Young Black Prince

story to tell. Mine is a story not only of myself, but also of my family, my community and my people. And maybe, through the telling of such, you may find a jewel worthwhile to help or inspire you in your story, now, with that being said……. My story began on a warm summer evening at 8:32pm when I was birthed into the world on the twelfth of July at Charity hospital in New Orleans Louisiana, to Jessie Frank McDonald and Sabrina Ann Batiste. At the time, being so young and still in high school, my parents maintained very tumultuous relationship as there had been confusion as to who my father was. It took my Gummier Honey to come down to the hospital with a photo of my father, when he was a baby, to put the hearsay to rest. One comparison of my big head to my fathers on his baby photo, and I was anointed as her first Grandchild! My father and his family were originally from the small rural town of Woodville Mississippi. They, like so many other black unskilled farm hands, migrated to New Orleans in 1963 in search of the American dream of a better life and decent paying jobs. Both his parents descended from a long line of farmers and trappers, so knowing how to survive was second nature to them. He attended West Jefferson High and became a local star linebacker on the football team. As a matter of fact, in 1977, he made All-State, All-District, and the High School All-American list at his position. Yah, he was really that good, one of the best in the country, and from what I told growing up, and he stayed on the local news and in the newspapers. Standing six feet and 250 pounds, my father was in no wise a man of small stature. He had put on muscle during the summers chopping down trees and lifting weights. This man was a real work-out-aholic. When I was old enough to keep up with him, he started taking me out on the weekends with to jog 3 miles on the highway. I hated him for that. There was no such

E

veryone and everything in the known universe has a story to tell, a story of a beginning and an ending, triumph and failure, love and hate, war and peace, and good and evil. Like everyone and everything else, I too, have a

thing as trying with him and excuses were not a part of his vocabulary. It was all or nothing in his mind. Get it done or not get it done. Whenever his anger was aroused, he would speak with a voice so loud, that it could clear out ten city blocks! For the most part though, he was quiet and reserve, never socializing or saying much, unless company was over. After I was born he continued to pursue his dream of becoming a professional football player. It would seem that life is not without its sense of irony. When graduation came, no college in America would admit him. This is a man, whom everyone was sure would achieve great things in life and in sports. But it was his naive racial crusade that would put him at odds with the coaching staff. At the time in 1977, West Jefferson High School was in transition from having all white coaches to having Coach Crosby hired as its first black head coach. The white football players and coaches, having been used to working under the previous white head coach, expressed their dissension with disrespect and sabotage. My father thought it was his duty to rectify this through starting a petition for the players to sign in acknowledgement of Coach Crosby as Head Coach. This didn’t go over too well and Tony, one of the white senior players, reported to the white coaches what my father was doing. Outraged by my father standing up to them, the white coaches approached him, called him militant black nigga, and tore up his petition. My father finish out his senior year, but when college scouts came to offer scholarships, the white coaches had branded him a trouble maker and therefore he received none. What’s even more ironic is the fact that my father didn’t even have to go to school there! When he played football at Henry Ford Jr. High, he was given a full four years scholarship to play at Arch Bishop Shaw, one of the most prestigious and prominent private high schools in Louisiana! Years later, I asked him why he didn’t go there. He replied, “I didn’t think I was good enough, and I wasn’t mentally prepared to go to an all-white school!” No one had counseled him on the cultural shock he would receive, what to expect, and how to handle the transition! Crazy isn’t it. That one decision would not only kill my father’s dream and scar him for the rest of his, but it set in motion a cycle that would eventually destroy our family. *

Now my mother, she was the polar opposite of my father. Not saying that my father was ugly or uncivilized, to the contrary, he was quite handsome, but Sabrina, she was the epitome of beauty and refinement. She was the original Creole Beauty Queen in its entire splendor. Everything about her was gentle and angelic. Sabrina was petite, standing a little over five feet, 1 inch tall and weighed no more than 110 pounds soaking wet with boots on. Possessing a sweet, soft tone to her voice even when she yelled it sounded like a whisper. In terms of integrity, charm, and hard work, though, she was a giant, with a relentless tendency of being driven and very outspoken. Sabrina never held anything back, especially whenever she felt slighted or knew she was right about something. As a child, she would often speak and reason to me as though I was an adult. On top of everything else, Sabrina was also clairvoyant, could predict the future, and she possessed minor telekinetic abilities. She used to be able to turn on the T.V., radio and lights just by waving her hand across them. One time, she held a light bulb in her hand and it started to glow! Talk about weird and spooky! My mother made the hairs on my neck standup on more than one occasion. Just as my father’s family had done, her family also migrated to New Orleans in the summer 1969. They were farmers and trappers also from the small rural town of Mansura Louisiana. According to white folks, that line of work was all that a black person was qualified to do back in those days, unless of course, you had money and education, which unfortunately, most black folks lacked then disproportionately. Her ancestors were Creole and Cajun immigrants from Nova Scotia Canada and Normandy France. While in high school, my mother was an inspiring writer and musician. Silent Night, the first song I ever learned to play was on the piano, was taught to me by her. I can still recall as clear as yesterday, when she used to read her short stories to me before bed time. She had so much in life that she wanted to achieve and accomplish. Growing up, she stressed to me the importance of education and the proper application of “common sense.” Unfortunately, after giving birth to me, my mother quit high school during her senior year. According to family and friends, all of her aspirations and ambition disappeared after that

decision. She was stuck trying to be a mother and work a full time job as a beautician at my gummier Honey’s Hair Salon. My maternal grandparents were never too fond of my father, and now they really despised him! They felt like he was the corner stone of ruining their daughter’s life! Three years after I was born, Sabrina gave birth to my brother Jesse Jr. whom we all call Nunu. He was born two months premature during her pregnancy and weighed less than 2 pounds. Because of the critical state he was born in, he stayed in the hospital five months before he was allowed to come home. Family lore has it that Nunu was so small, that he was carried around in my mother purse! My mother’s premature delivery, according to my maternal grandparents, was a result of the never ending fighting my parents were engaged in. In light of the early hardships that my mother had to endure, she was a very resilient woman. She had the blessed attribute of looking at the good side of any adverse situation. By the time she made twenty, she already was married with two children. I cannot ever remember her complaining about her lot in life nor of decisions from the past. Being a woman who valued upper mobility, she stayed focus on the here and now, never giving much thought to the past or the adversity that it created in the present. * After Jessie went off to college, we moved to Gretna in a one-bedroom flat. My mother’s sister Pam and her husband Herbert lived not too far from us which was great because their son Quintrell was my favorite cousin on that side of the family. Everyone called Quintrell Duke, because he loved toy cowboy guns. We both were bad as hell and loved trouble. My uncle Herbert had a duck that he kept in a cage in the backyard. One day we were playing cowboys and Indians we didn’t have anyone to hang, so Duke suggested we hang the duck! So, we did just that. Poor duck sure didn’t deserve a death sentence at the hand of two bored, bad ass kids. My uncle Herbert was so pissed he banded me from the house for a month!

We stayed in Gretna for another year and a half before moving to the Scottsdale apartments in Harvey. She was pregnant with my brother Derrick just before we moved and gave birth to him not long after we had settled in. Everything about Scottsdale was exciting. There were lot of kids and plenty of trouble to get into. Most of the kids belonged to working class families, but there were also a large number of people who relocated there from the Fischer Housing Projects in Algiers. The kids from the Fischer projects were a lot faster and tougher than me. They were professional thieves and bullshit artists. Fighting was something they did to pass time, and the first fight I ever got into was with one of them that stayed above me named Leroy. He was one of the toughest kids in the neighborhood and everyone knew he had a cold set of hands. I once saw him get jumped by three kids and he came out of the fight knocking two of them out without getting a scratch! He was a maverick! And wasn‘t afraid of anything or anyone! There was a bike trail in the woods not far from my apartment were all the kids would go to race their bikes after school. I destroyed my first bike on it trying to jump a ditch on a dare from Leroy. He was the best riders of us all and could jump the ditch blindfolded with no hands on the handle bar! Well, there were cute girls standing around and my pride would not let me say no, even though I had never tried to jump a ditch before. So, off I went and bam! Bottom of the ditch and a wop front rim to boot! The girls and Leroy fell over with laughter! I was so embarrassed that I just drugged my broken bike home thinking about how to pay him back! After that incident, I made it a point to stay off that bike trail! Leroy had a nice Hot Wheels car collection that he had the bad habit of leaving outside on his porch. Two days after the bike trail debacle, I went to his apartment, and just before I knocked on his door, I saw that he left his cars out. I thought to myself, what better way to make him feel my pain than to steal his precious car collection? It’s Payback time! Instead of knocking on his door, I quickly stuffed my front and back pockets with the cars! Like a runaway burglar, I hurried down the stairs, looking around to make sure no one had seen what I did. All the while running to my house, I couldn’t stop myself from smiling and laughing! That’ll fix him I said to myself. He’s going to miss those cars!

The very next day, while on our way to school, Leroy kept bugging me about his car collection, asking me if I had seen them or did I know who had them. I felt kind of bad because I was lying to him and he my only real friend. A week went by with him obsessing over those cars until faith would have him show up to my house unexpected. I was in my room playing with his cars and never heard the doorbell rang. My mother had let him in and showed him to room. The proverbial cat was now out of the bag. “Man, you the one who stole my damn cars” before I could mount up a good defense and lie, he said, “Nigga, Imma kick yo ass!” “Come outside!” So, outside I went to my imminent doom, trying to think of a way to talk my way out of this mess. It was too late for that though. His mind was made up and there was blood in his eyes! Leroy had destroyed many guys in a fight, and it would seem I was his next victim. He kicked off his shoes, pulled off his shirt in true ghetto form, and it was on! I tried to throw a few punches, but it was no use, no one had ever taught me how to fight, and Leroy was too fast and too experienced for me to even get a lick in. Just as fast as it started, it ended just as quick with a straight jab to the nose and blood squirting everywhere! Being the momma’s boy that I was at that age, I made a mad dash to the front door crying to her! “Momma, Leroy beat me up and busted my nose” “What? Boy, what the hell the matter with you!” “Leroy beat me up” I repeated, trying to speak clearly. “What! Oh no, you ain’t go be no punk! Come on, get yo black ass back out there and fight like a man! The only pussy in this house is mine! You got that!” With those words echoing in my head, she promptly grabbed me by my ear and drugged me back outside. She went to their apartment and called him and his mom outside so we could fight again. So, now, here I am getting my ass kicked again in front of Leroy’s mother and mine! After it was all said and done I ended up with a busted mouth and a black eye to go along with the busted nose from earlier. But I was not afraid to fight anymore! *

After watching me get thumped the way I did by Leroy, my mother sent me to my Grummaire Shirley for four weeks so my uncle John could teach me how to fight. I guess she felt bad. John was a golden glove boxer and more of a big brother to me than an uncle. I mean we were only seven years apart. While he was teaching me how to box, he also taught me karate. My mother’s parents had John spoiled, so he was into everything from boxing, karate, and martial arts. When John was finished with me I was a beast in the fighting department. My patented move was a round house kick that I used to knock people out! I was ready for anybody now, including Leroy, but it would never come to that because we mended our difference and became best friends. Leroy, me and two other guys from the neighborhood, Nussie and a Cuban kid we called Paco, started running an elementary extortion ring. We would shake down all the white kids for lunch money and snacks. That’s how it was. For some reason I cannot explain, even till this very day, is why did we have such an embedded hatred for white people. It’s like, it was in our genes. No one had ever told me about slavery or racism at the time, but for some unknown reason, I hated white folks and never would let an opportunity pass to “give em hell” They weren’t the only ones we exploited though. Anyone who wasn’t from our neighborhood or a part of our clique got the “bidnizz” Sometimes, after school, our clique would go to the corner store to play video games. I like going there because all of the gangsters, pimps, and prostitutes would come there to buy stuff. They would often give us some chump change to play videos or buy us food. A pimp and con-artist by the name of King Snake Blake was my favorite. He was always telling us stories about women in his “stable” that he referred to as “thoroughbreds” and “Marks” who he beat out of money. “Look here young players in training stay sucka busta free and one day, you might pimp as hard as me!” he would often say to us. “ Don’t be afraid to get down and dirty fo ya bread, pimp a bitch till you die and you‘ll never go unfed!” Man, that cat always had some spectacular ghetto poetry flowing from his lips! His clothes were made for a ghetto superman, straight out of a seventies Blaxploitation movie, but real and in the flesh. Everything he wore was flamboyant, big and loud, just like him.

King Snake Blake was our idol. Sometimes he would even let us hold his pistol, it was unloaded, I think, but it was still cool! The first con-game I ever learned in life was learned from him, called three card molly and tops. The only way to win either one of those games is if the con-man allowed you to win. In tops, the ball is never under any of the tops even though the eyes tell you different. It’s a slight of the hand trick that you have to spend many hours practicing to master. Three card molly works similar but the trick is moving the hands faster than eyes can perceive and palming the stick-out card. Leroy and I would practice for hours on the weekends and then go to school and beat the kids outs of their money. Yes, King Snake Blake taught us a lot by trying to be cool, but he unwittingly turned us out to an early life of crime. I wanted to be just like him when I grew up and unbeknownst to me at the time, I would get my chance later on in my life. * Between all of the fighting, strong armed extortion and con-games, I had little time for anything else. Girls were the last thing on my young mind until I met Melody. She white and kind of chubby with huge breast, and at her age back then, that was rare. All of the boys in our school were infatuated with her, but for some strange and unnatural reason she liked me! You can always tell when a girl like you, because the way they express themselves is by giving you a hard time. My being a year younger than her and a grade below didn’t seem to matter. Every time she got the chance, she would pinch me when we went outside for recess. There were many days I wanted to kick this white girls ass, but Leroy had hipped me that she liked me. One day while we were riding the bus home from school, Melody passed me a note with a yes or no box to check, asking me if I wanted to come over later and play house with her and her friends. I checked the yes box and passed the note back to her. When she read it, I could see her face begin to light up like she had just won the lottery, with a devious look in her eyes that I’m sure only Satan the devil himself could interpret. She lived right across the street from me, so as soon as I was finished with my homework and chores, I called Leroy and we both went to her place. This was my first time playing house, so I didn’t know what to expect. She had already built the makeshift house in

her backyard out of broken boards and sheets. Inside there was a small child size table and chairs, with a toy tea setup. She was the wife, I was the husband, Leroy was the neighbor, and her lil brother and friend were the children. After we ate the make-believe dinner Melody cooked, she and I went into our room, which was divided from the rest of the house by a sheet. When I laid down, she took off her clothes and got naked. This girl was full developed! not only did she have huge breast! she had hair on her vagina! She then proceeded to undress me, smiling like a chess cat in the process. I couldn’t restrain myself, and my little peewee dick was hard as acme steel! “Come on Corey, let me sit on it” what choice did I have? I didn’t know what the hell to do. That girl rode my peewee till it was red like a grown woman! We must have been “humping“ for about fifteen minutes then all of a sudden, “Melody, what the hell is going on out here!” It was her mother. “You, you lil nigger, what the hell you doing to my daughter? Get your lil ass from over her, now!” I shot out of there like a bat out of hell, and would have been naked if my Spiderman underwear would have been all the way off! Leroy and I ran as fast as we could to the house! I dashed through our front door like a the wind cutting through trees. Thank god my mom’s was at the store because there was no way to explain to her my being damn near naked! Once she came home, I prayed that Melody’s mom wouldn’t come over and tell her what had happen. There would have been hell to pay, believe me. That night I could hardly sleep. I jumped up every time I heard something, thinking it was my mother coming in my room to whip me. Nothing ever came of that situation. I guess they were too embarrassed to tell my parents what had happened. Maybe they just couldn’t take the thought of a black person banging their daughter? I’ll never know, but for now I was off the hook it would seem. The next day Melody was transferred to another school and they moved out of the neighborhood. That incident with her branded me as the schoolyard playboy and. It would start a trend between me and women that I would carry on for years to come.

* Sheree and Phyllis, my mother’s other two sisters, lived close by on Pailet Street. Sometimes after school, Sheree would take me, Leroy and another friend of ours, by the name of Frank, swimming in another apartment complex her friend stayed in. It wasn’t long before Frank, Leroy and I were going over there on our own. We played water volley ball, and basketball in the pool, sometimes past 10 o’clock at night! One night while Leroy and I were swimming, Frank decided he wanted to go to the store to get some junk food to eat. Leroy and I were too busy having a good time, so we told Frank to go by himself. When Frank made it back, he immediately jumped in the deep side of the pool. It seemed like it took him forever to make it back to the top of the water, but he did. While Leroy and I were getting out of the pool, Frank started gasping for air, trying to stay afloat! He started sinking to the bottom of the pool, Leroy hollered out, “I think he’s drowning man, lets get him out!” Leroy jumped in to try and pull him up, while I held out the rescue pole! Leroy managed to pull Frank up to the top of the pool, but Franks weight started pulling them both back down. Without, thinking, I ran to the nearest apartment building and started beating on doors to try and get an adult to come and help us. One of the men in the building ran out his apartment with only his underwear on, and dove in the pool to pull Leroy and Frank out! After the gentlemen got both of them out of the pool, I thought, wow, that was a close call. That wasn’t the end of it though. Leroy was ok, but my friend Frank had stopped breathing! By this time, other adults had come out and they watched as the gentlemen that had pulled Leroy and Frank out of the pool, try to resuscitate Frank. It was no use, Frank was gone. The apartment complex soon became a circus of police and ambulance lights. The channel 8 news even made the scene. They questioned Leroy and I, then drove us back to our homes. I was devastated. Truly, I didn’t know the full impact of death, but I knew it was final. For months thereafter, I heard the loud scream of Frank’s mother ringing in my ears. I dare not try to imagine what she was feeling or going through at the time. I could not have known how it felt, to lose a child being that I was one at the time. Two weeks later my father was released from jail after spending 19 months behind bars. I said goodbye to Leroy, all my friends, and the Scottsdale apartments. My grandma

Honey, and other family members had thrown a Supper to raise money for us to move into a house in the neighborhood with them. I should have been happy, but I wasn’t. Scottsdale was a coming into being for me. I would miss it along with Frank, Leroy and the other friends I cared about. It was goodbye to that part of my life and hello to a new beginning. * I hung out a lot with my father when he came home on the weekends after college let out. He would take me everywhere he went, so I was exposed to weigh more than a kid my age should have been. Apart from going to college, my father was a drug dealer and street hustler. He did almost anything to make money. What I liked most about hanging out with him, was the money he and his friends would give me not to tell Sabrina what I saw or heard. I never could understand why he wanted me along on all his “business dealings” until I got older. The first person to ever give me drugs was my father. One night he was bringing my brother Nunu and I to his mother in Kennedy Heights to spend the weekend. While he was driving and smoking weed he looked over to me and said “Here, take a hit of this boy! This some good shit! It’ll put some hair on yo lil boney ass chest!” I looked at him like he was crazy! I mean, come on, I was only eight years old then! I was thinking in my head “ Does he have me confused with his weed buddies? This must be a trick” but it wasn’t a trick and he wasn’t confused. Bottom line, he was young, dumb, and crazy! I took the joint from him and puffed on it, damn near coughing and choking to death! “Give me my joint back! You coughing and spitting on it, you pose to hold the smoke in! you wasting my damn weed boy! He quickly swiped it out my hand and passed it to my lil brother! “Here Nunu, take a hit, your big brother can’t handle it!” he said laughing. I didn’t think it was funny, I wanted to spit on him when he said that! Nunu took the joint and smoked it like he was born with it in his mouth. What a father! * One of the weekends Jessie came home will forever be engraved in my mind. As I stated earlier, Jessie was a drug dealer and hustler on the side apart from going to college.

There was a guy named Mike who stayed in the same apartment complex as us who used to “work” for my father. Whenever my father would come home, the first thing he would do is go across the river to the east side of New Orleans to pickup “packages” for Mike to sell. The last night before Jessie was to return to school he was in a really bad mood and edgy. He told me “Corey, put your shoes on, we going for a walk” While I was coming out of my room, I saw him loading his gun in the hall bathroom. “What you looking at boy! You too damn nosey! You ready? Let’s go!” We walked down by Mike’s apartment. My father ranged the door bell and Mike let us in. “Hey man, what’s up with my money? You done had 3 weeks of my patience and now here it is again when I’m about to leave, you giving me the same bullshit story! What’s up!” “Well Jessie man, calm down, I told you it’s been slow and the Norcs been hot around here, I’m trying to lay low man, that’s all” “Oh really muthafucka? You take me for Joe Sausage Head don’t cha? You trying to run the Willie Bo Bo on me! Well lookie here, if you don’t have my money, up my product ya dig? I can get Muckie in Marrero to get of it.” “I don’t have it, I already put it out there with my peoples and like I said, its hot right now” “ Oh yeah, that’s not what the streets say, and have you forgot? My uncle is a detective for JPD so that shit you spittin is null and void, I already checked ya heard me!” Just when Mike was about to say something, Jessie pulled out his gun and put it to Mikes head and Boom! Like that, Mike was lying on the ground bleeding from his head and trembling. I jumped off the couch scared to death. Jessie ran to the back to see if there was anyone else in the apartment. When he emerged from the back, he grabbed my hand and we headed out the door and started walking towards the front store. It seemed like the walk from Mike’s house to the front store took an eternity. Jessie didn’t run, he wasn’t in a rush or anything like that, he just took his time. While we were walking he told me “Look Corey, I hated to do that in front of you, but I had to. Don’t tell nobody what you saw, you understand? especially your momma! Can I trust you?” “ Yes Sir, I won’t tell nobody” “ Ok, good, you my lil man” I didn’t know what to say to that, but there was one question burning in my mind I had to get the nerve to ask him. “Daddy, why did you shoot Mr. Mike, I thought he was your friend?” “ Look boy, I’m going to answer this one time, after

tonight, never bring this up again ok. Well in life, you never let anyone take advantage of you or take anything from you! I have you, your brother and your momma to take care of, and your momma is pregnant. So if a man tries to steal from me, he’s stealing from my wife and kids, which means he’s stealing from you!” “from me” “yah you, you my child aint cha? “ yah” “well then, I don’t let nobody steal from my family and you better not either when you grow up, ok” “ok daddy, I won’t” I didn’t know what to think, everything was so confusing to me at the time. The mentality of a person dealing in street enterprises is simple. All it takes is for you to let one person get away with something, then everyone else will be lining up to fuck you over. On the streets, mercy is perceived as weakness, and weakness will get you killed or keep you broke! Strength and power is all that the streets respect! We walked about two miles to the Harvey Canal. There my father threw the gun in the water. After we made it home he gathered his clothes, kissed us off goodbye, and off he went back to school like nothing had happened. I lay in my bed all night thinking about what had happened and what I saw. Did Mike really deserve that? Was I going to get in trouble? Those were my thought for the next few weeks. Till this very day every now and then that scene still plays in my head like it was yesterday. At the time, I thought that would be the end of all the craziness concerning my father, but boy was I wrong! It was only the beginning. * I was awoken in the middle of the night by loud knocking and banging on our front door. In a frightened stupor, I began hollering for my mother and ran to her room to wake her up! She immediately immerged from her sleep, mumbling under her breath, trying as fast as she could, to put on her house robe, while stumbling to get to the front door, “Who is it?” she said in her soft spoken voice. “This is the Jefferson Parish Police Department, we are here with an arrest warrant for one Jessie Frank McDonald, open up now or we will be forced to break down the door” “Ok, give me a second to get these chains off of the door”. No soon as she twisted the door knob, they barged into our house like a stampede of rodeo bulls! With their weapons drawn as if they were about to begin a cowboy shot out, they pushed my mother to the side and damn near trampling upon her in the process!

The officers went room to room looking for my father yelling at the top of their lungs “Where is he” and calling out his name, “Jessie, come out with your hands up, you are surrounded”. Of course my father never came out because he wasn’t home. While my mother was busy trying to ask questions to ascertain what was going on and why were they here looking for her husband, a clean cut Caucasian gentlemen wearing a cheap suit with a detective badge hanging from his left breast pocket, walked in and served her with a search and seizure warrant for our apartment. After calming my hysterical mother down, the detective explained to her that my father had been implicated in a homicide not too far from our house. She tried to explain to the detective that my father had been away off to college for the past two weeks and that there was no way he had committed murder! I slipped outside while my mother was being interrogated by the detectives. It seemed like everyone in the neighborhood was outside in front of our apartment viewing the circus scene. Leroy and his mom were standing by the curb. They called me over to inquire about all of the commotion going on at our apartment. My father pulled up to the drive way just when I was about to walk off. No soon as I began to approach his car, officers came from everywhere! They even seemed to be falling out of the sky! In a flash they had my father car surrounded with their guns pointed towards him! He got out of the car with his hands in the air, putting up no resistance. They allowed my mother to hug and kiss him goodbye, and just before they drove away, he called me to the police car, “I’m going to be gone for a while and you’re the man of the house while I’m away, you understand? Take care of your momma and brothers and don’t give her any problems! I love you, be good.” and just like that, he was whisked away. Four hours would pass before the detectives and their minions were gone. In their wake, they left a devastated apartment that looked like it had been pillage by an army of marauding barbarians! They had cut open all of our mattresses and sofa pillows looking for drugs and the murder weapon! Everything in the rooms and kitchen were strewn all over the floor. You couldn’t walk anywhere without tripping over something. They even tore open all of the diaper bags! My grandparents Shirley and Deda came over and took my two younger brothers to stay the weekend with them to allow my mother to pull herself together. Once the family left our apartment, my mother broke down. I slept with her that night and listened to her cry until the next morning. For now, we were alone, and it would remain as such for a while….

I’ll Remember
I’ll remember I‘ll remember, from the cradle to the grave, I’ll remember When they instilled knowledge inside my head, I’ll remember When they would lift me off of the ground, I’ll remember When they gave me love when no one else was around, I’ll remember When I had no resources left, I’ll remember When they gave me their last and was in need themselves, I’ll remember When they would kiss my cheek or give me a hug, I’ll remember When they showed me the meaning of unconditional love, I’ll remember When they made me laugh and wiped my eyes when I cried, I’ll remember When they gave me comfort when my first love died I’ll remember When they gave me advice on love and girls, I’ll remember When they said I had a lot to offer the world I’ll remember When they were there for me when my life fell apart, I’ll remember When I had no strength to go on they would give me their heart, I’ll remember Their words of encourage while I was in the pen, I’ll remember They’ve been more than just a family they’ve been my best friend, I’ll remember, I’ll remember, From the cradle to the grave, I’ll remember Whatever they could give, they never hesitated, they gave

Family of Outlaws

rarely went beyond a stern talk or a slap on the head, but retribution, oh my god! That was a long walk in the yard to the sticker bush tree to “fetch a switch” to be flogged with. It’s amazing how long those walks used to be. I can remember hoping and praying they would change their mind, or drop dead before I got back. It never did happen that way though, and a “whippin” in those days involved getting hit everywhere except under your feet. Those “whippings’” or better yet, beatings would definitely be considered child abuse by today’s standards, but that was the norm in a black family back in those days of old. I still quiver when I think about it * Just as any other family in the black community in those day, you can place family members into twelve categories’. These twelve categories’ are twelve personality types based on the activities that a particular person is known for or would display. Sometimes an individual could occupy more than one category at the same time, and this is common. The twelve categories’ are as follows; The Holy Roller, The Drug Dealer, The family Historian, The Family Killer or Henchmen and Enforcer, The Lady’s Man or Pimp, The Gold Digger or Loose Woman, The Educated and Stuck up Business Man or Woman, The Story Teller or Liar, The Family Drunk or Drug Addict, The Family Party Girl or Boy, The Family Mediator, and The Wise Man or Woman. If you take a stroll back into your mind, I guarantee you that your family members fit into one of the above categories. In the black family, you always have a holy roller. A holy roller is someone in the family, usually an aunt, who used to run the streets hard and did so much “sinning” that it would have made Satan the Devil blush. Usually after a near death experience or once they have “hit rock bottom” they then decide to give their life to Jesus and repent from their wicked ways. After their conversion, they feel it was their god given duty to go to every family function and throw a wet towel on the festivities by preaching the word to everyone. The family Holy Roller is the

T

he love of family, family tradition and respect was a big thing in my environment when I was growing up, and violation of such was met with swift retribution or admonishment. Admonishment was always welcomed because it

most annoying member of the family because they work tirelessly at cramming the bible down your throat! When the family Holy Roller decides to throw a family get-together, it is usually boring, there is gospel music playing in the back ground, you can’t curse, there is no alcohol, and don’t even think about lighting up a cigarette or some weed! They are not having any of that worldly sinning going on in their castle, no sir! The whole atmosphere will be somber and sterile, which in turn will cause family members to exit as quickly as they came. The Drug Dealer is another fixture in many black families. Back in the seventies and eighties, a member of the family that was a drug dealer, usually was low key about their activities because they had a family. They did everything a family man would do like, take the children to the park, participate in school activities of their children, go out to dinner with the wife, have parties at the house, and participate in all family functions. There were no shoot outs, kidnappings, stabbings, or any violent activities. Well, at least it was that way before the mid eighties when crack cocaine hit the streets, wiped out a whole generation of productive black men and women and changed everything! My family had a couple of drug dealers, and they were suit wearing family men. If you were not a part of my family, you would have never known what they were involved in during their spare time. Some of them even had full time jobs, but they sold drugs for extra money for the family. The Family Historian was someone in the family that knew the history of the family all the way back to slavery. They had acquired all the wisdom and stories of the family passed down from generation to generation to them. Whenever you needed information on family members living or deceased, they would be the ones to talk to. They could tell you stories about when your parents were young or how the family ended up in a certain part of the state or country. Stories about grandparents and great grandparents are their specialty. The family historian usually was an older woman in the family who everyone looked up to and respected. They could set the record straight on misinformation concerning the family and they usually kept all of the family secrets and history right in their heads! Talking to the family historian could go on for hours as you sit and listen in utter amazement as they recall all the events from a hundred or more years ago!

The Killer or Family Henchmen and Enforcer, is someone who does exactly what the title implies. They have either killed a few people in the past or they are known for going after outsiders who bring drama to the family or violate any member of the family. This is the person who has sworn a secret oath to put anyone in the dirt that seeks to do bodily harm to members of the family! No one asked them to fulfill this duty, and most of the time, no one knows that this person was born to be the killer or family henchmen and enforcer, it just comes out all of a sudden when something they feel, needs to be met with deadly force, happens to a member of the family! They are usually laid back and unassuming, fun to be around, affectionate, and the life of a party, until a situation arises that requires their special skills! Most of the times, members of the family will do their damnest to hide anything negative that has transpired, that would bring out the family henchmen to exact revenge! They are usually the last person to know what has happened because everyone knows what the outcome will be once they take charge of the situation. There will be no mercy, only bloodshed and death to the perpetrators! My family had at least eight men that fit this description, and they didn’t play! Everyone respected them because they knew what they were about, and we loved the role they played in keeping everyone in the family safe and secure, even from ourselves sometimes. The Lady’s Man or Pimp, is a man in the family who either has a lot of women he deals with or he has prostitutes working for him. My family had a lot of lady’s men and five certified pimps! At every family function, the lady’s man always shows up with either a car full of women, or a different woman at each family gathering. They dress in the latest fashion, wear excessive amounts of jewelry, drive the cleanest cars “usually a Cadillac”, talk about how many women they are seeing, how much money they are making off of their hustling women, school you on “macking” on women, have a pocket full of money, and a million dollar smile. For some reason, the lady’s man is always happy and when they pull up in the drive way, everyone is glad to see them. I had a cousin that was such a smooth lady’s man, that he came to a party my grummaire Honey threw with three women, and when the night was over, he left with four! Yes sir, the family must have talked about how he pulled that slick shit off for the next six months….. ……….End of Preview

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