SCLARC Opens New Headquarters + L.A. Extends Shelter Program for Homeless


South Central Los Angeles Regional Center Opens New Headquarters:  South Central Los Angeles Regional Center (SCLARC), celebrated the grand opening of Legacy Plaza— the agency’s new headquarters — with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 14. (Compton Herald)

L.A. to Extend Shelter Program for Homeless:  With winter setting in and an El Nino weather pattern eyeing California, officials extended a campaign to help nearly 26,000 homeless people by opening public buildings as temporary shelters. (Fox News)

An Architectural Walking Tour of South L.A.’s Stately and Historic West Adams Boulevard:
South L.A.’s West Adams neighborhood is home to an array of architectural styles and several Historic-Cultural Monuments that have stood the test of time. Curbed LA mapped 13 of the neighborhood’s must-see spots that can be knocked out in a 2-mile stroll. (Curbed LA)

Cecil Murray, South LA’s civic leader and spiritual guide

The respected pastor who helped put out fires of the 1992 riots now fosters religious dialogue at USC.

Cecil Murray

Cecil Murray gets settled in his USC office. | Jordyn Holman

Since late November, residents from South Los Angeles have been peacefully protesting courthouse decisions to not indict police officers in Missouri and New York who killed two young unarmed Black men in the line of duty.

For Rev. Dr. Cecil Murray, the former pastor of South L.A.’s First African Methodist Episcopal Church, the demonstrations in memory of Michael Brown and Eric Garner bring to mind L.A. protests of days gone by in that they aimed to shed light on the disconnect between police officers and the people they serve.

[Read more…]

Community seeks environmental study for South LA oil site

A packed house turned out at City Hall to discuss plans for the Budlong drill site. | Matt Tinoco

A packed house turned out at City Hall to discuss plans for the Budlong drill site. | Matt Tinoco

More than 150 Angelenos showed up at City Hall on Tuesday to voice concerns about oil giant Freeport McMoRan’s plans to expand operations in its urban-drilling facility located in South L.A. near the University of Southern California.

A room on the 10th floor of City Hall was filled with a sea of Angelenos from various walks of life, ranging from the working-class residents of apartment buildings bordering the facility to committed ecological warriors residing in Hollywood Hills.

Their collective demand was simple: Require a full environmental impact report before permitting the oil company to proceed with its plans for expansion. This meeting had been organized to allow the public to direct comments to Maya Zaitzevsky, associate zoning administrator for Los Angeles.

See also: West Adams neighbors seek to oust oil production [Read more…]

Untold LA: West Adams homes through a photographer’s lens

Jett Loe set out to document the architecture of a

South L.A. neighborhood’s past eras in an e-book



A home built in the “Queen Anne” style. | Jett Loe

Conspicuously absent from tour books and commercial tours of Los Angeles is South L.A. Photographer and television director Jett Loe thinks that needs to change, and has created a new book on the West Adams district to highlight some of the architectural gems in the area.

Loe has documented the treasure of Craftsman, Victorian and Tudor homes of West Adams and their histories in an innovative electronic book, Untold LA. (For now, available via for Mac and iPad via iTunes, where you can download the first chapter for free.)

The book takes its viewers on an interactive neighborhood tour, with more than 500 photographs, 70 oral history audio clips and two hours of behind-the-scenes video commentary that bring the homes to life.

Loe’s wonderment about the homes and the people who live in them made his time on the project stretch from two months to two years. He spoke with Intersections about how the idea for the book came about and how his background influenced the project.

1914 Guasti Mansion Foyer

The foyer of the Guasti Mansion, built in 1914. | Jett Loe

Intersections South L.A.: What is your connection to West Adams?

Jett Loe: I encountered the amazing homes of West Adams upon moving to Los Angeles in 2012 from Northern Ireland, where I was directing shows for the BBC. My wife wanted to live in a communal household and I started looking in the Harvard Heights neighborhood of West Adams. In my search, conducted by foot and bus since I didn’t have a car yet in the United States, I was amazed by the beauty of the homes in the district. Following my discoveries, I was astonished to find that no one had done a “coffee table” book of photos about them. I then launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the book and raised $9,000 in 25 days from supporters who were excited that someone was finally documenting the neighborhood’s architecture.

What were the historical changes that contributed to the evolution of West Adams from the original wealthy section of Los Angeles into the neighborhood it has become today?

West Adams was home to the wealthy and powerful of Los Angeles during the late 1800s. If you were a doctor, banker or lawyer it was convenient for you to live in West Adams and take the streetcar Downtown. Of course, with the invention of the car people could live farther away. The rich created areas such as Beverly Hills, leaving the large, beautiful homes of West Adams to other folks. Once the original owners left, the powers of L.A. stopped focusing on the area and the media paid less attention to it. However, Japanese, African-Americans, Hispanics and others moved into the neighborhood, establishing vibrant communities. For a time it was the locus for Black political, economic and cultural power which is why West Adams was home to such greats as Marvin Gaye and Ray Charles.

1880s Victorian Home by Jett Loe

A Victorian Home from the 1880s | Jett Loe

What types of people have you met as a result of doing this project?

All types: From African-Americans who’ve lived here for many decades, to Japanese families who almost lost their homes during the World War II internment, to young folks who live in communal homes. The mixture of interviews and photographic portraits in the book was intentional; I wanted to show a whole spectrum of people to reflect the diversity the way I experienced it.

What made you decide to make it an e-book?

I always like to experiment with new things. An ebook allowed me to combine the interview skills I’d accumulated during my time directing television with my photography and interactive production abilities. The illuminated screen of an iPad or computer allows photographs to really ‘pop’ and for me evokes the illuminated stained glass windows that you see in so many West Adams homes.

Day of the dead celebration in west adams

A Mexican Day of the Dead celebration takes to the streets in West Adams

Do you think this is the future for photography and books?

For photographers in the U.S., making a living is an ongoing challenge, in no small part to the effects of the Internet, which seems to melt like water so many established business models. Many job positions for photographers have disappeared due to the development of Internet photography. For example, jobs that a newspaper would have had a decade ago no longer exist because now there is always someone on a news scene with a mobile phone. So being a working photographer is a continual challenge. Doing a project like Untold LA with its mix of private funding though a site like Kickstarter combined with selling a version of the project through iTunes is an experiment for me in new models of photography production.

How has Untold LA changed your relationship to West Adams?

When I moved to L.A., I had never heard of West Adams. But I feel that the district deserves to be just as famous outside of Los Angeles as well known spots like the Griffith Observatory. The homes and culture of West Adams are rich, unique and beautiful. I feel privileged that I was able to document a part of it.

1940 lukens home

Comparatively modern next to other West Adams residences, the Lukens Home was built in 1940 | Jett Loe

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West Adams architecture, Watts Riots yearbooks + South LA assemblyman to pay fine

A historic home in West Adams. | Erin Leiker / Intersections

A historic home in West Adams. | Erin Leiker / Intersections

Slate: A new book explores the unique architecture of West Adams, with styles ranging from Victorian to Craftsman to Beaux Arts.

KCET: Erin Aubry Kaplan sees demographic changes in the wake of the Watts Riots in her family’s school yearbooks.

KPCC: Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer representing South L.A. must pay a $10,000 fine for violating campaign donation laws.

LA Times: Blight builds in South L.A. and other neighborhoods with an abundance of foreclosed homes.

LA Times: Cyclist dies in hit-and-run in Vermont Square.

South Seas House: Abandoned home turned community center

The fully-restored South Seas House |

The fully-restored South Seas House |

On the corner of Arlington and 24th Street in West Adams stands a house adorned with Tiki-style window gables whose 112-year history is even more colorful than its quirky exterior.

When its original owner died in 1922, the South Seas House began to deteriorate. Soon it was was abandoned, then occupied by vandals and squatters, and eventually taken over by the City of Los Angeles. At its bleakest point, as overgrown trees and bushes swallowed an uninhabitable interior cluttered with debris, the community stepped in and adopted the home as its own.

Today, the South Seas House – so named for its Polynesian architectural flourishes – is a city-run community center offering afterschool programs, senior classes and a summer camp, among other activities.

[Read more…]

Nonprofit Spotlight: 24th Street Theatre


Teatro del Pueblo project at the 24th St. Theatre | Daina Beth Solomon

What is the 24th Street Theatre’s purpose? To engage, educate, and provoke our diverse community with excellent theatre and arts education.

When was the 24th Street Theatre founded? 1997

Which areas does the 24th Street Theatre serve? North University Park and surrounding areas

What services does the  24th Street Theatre provide? Arts Education, free after-school programming with snacks, and professional performances for the community from Los Angeles and around North America. Our shows cost only 24 cents for neighborhood residents.

What are the 24th Street Theatre’s recent accomplishments? Winner of the 2012 Peter Zeisler Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the American Theatre.

Video Courtesy of the 24th Street Theatre Youtube Channel

Art Education Workshop | Photo Courtesy of 24th Street Theatre

Art Education Workshop | Photo Courtesy of 24th Street Theatre

What does the the 24th Street Theatre consider as…

…top safety issues in South L.A.? Youth need more things to do during non-school hours. I feel very safe in this neighborhood, but USC students need to realize when they aren’t on campus that they are in the inner city. They constantly ride their bikes while texting or just randomly bike into traffic without paying attention. I also think getting the students out to volunteer in the neighborhood would help with community relations. We have some excellent USC work study students here that work closely with neighborhood youth and are great role models to them.

…top education issues in South L.A.?  There are some great youth here in our community that need help with finding options post high school, including how and when to apply for college, and career options.

What are  the 24th Street Theatre affiliated programs? The Saturday Explorer Series, Leadership Academy,

Hours: Noon to 6, Monday through Friday, with performances occasionally on Saturdays and Sundays.

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram @24thST

Contact info: Jennie McInnis, Executive Assistant, [email protected], 213.745.6516.

Photo courtesy of 24th Street Theatre

Photo courtesy of 24th Street Theatre

Not your typical office building

articleimageOn the corner of Adams Boulevard and Gramercy Place sits a three-story, red brick Colonial Revival style building. Its six, strong, white columns and perfectly manicured lawn separate it from many of the other apartment buildings surrounding the area.

To an unknowing passer-by, the building may not seem to belong in the neighborhood. However, most residents know it as a historical and cultural monument and the current workplace of the LA84 Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds youth sports programs in Southern California as the legacy of the 1984 Olympic Games. [Read more…]

West Adams church fire aftermath

Firefighters follow up at the Church fire.

Firefighters follow up at the Church fire.

Burnt fragments of wood and stained glass are all that remain after the fire destroyed Crouch Memorial Church of God in Christ in West Adams. Today, construction workers sawed off what was left of the roofless structure. The Los Angeles Fire Department continued its evaluation of Tuesday’s fire that injured three firefighters. Chief Flegal of the Battalion 1 unit revisited the scene today.

To hear observations from Flegal and other onlookers, listen to an audio story from Annenberg Radio News:

[Read more…]

What do you think of West Adams?

Edroy Flowers is a junior at Cal State Northridge studying political science. He talks about the effect of the Benny H. Potter West Adams Avenues Memorial Park on the community. Click here to listen to the story.

south seas house