Snapshots from the Watts Senior Citizen Prom


Whether walking in heels or hobbling with walkers, the guests made their way to the Watts Senior Citizen Center last Friday in style – the women in bright dresses, the men in dapper suits and all wearing white rose corsages with “Watts Senior Prom” printed on black ribbons.

Inside the “ballroom” they found a dozen tables draped in black cloths dotting the room among bunches of black and silver balloons. Smooth jazz played in soft tones. Servers in starched dress-shirts served glasses of pink lemonade along with soul food from the Watts Coffeehouse.

District 15 Councilman Joe Buscaino, who planned the event, said he wanted the longtime residents of Watts to feel gratitude and respect – and have fun, too. Looking at his parents, who sat at one of the front tables together, he said, “You can be a senior and still party, ma!”

Buscaino had planned to take his grandmother for a spin on the dance floor, but she had recently taken a fall and didn’t feel up to the festivities. When the councilman, wearing a black suit and silver tie, said his nona would turn 94 in August, the crowd broke out in cheers and applause.

Intersections South LA spoke with some guests about their long lives spent in the ever-changing neighborhoods of Watts and South Los Angeles.



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Buscaino, LAPD officers clean up empty land in South LA

imageCouncilman Joe Buscaino from District 15, joined law enforcement officers and other community activists Saturday to clean up an empty plot of land near 103rd Street and Grandee Avenue in Watts.

The plot was overgrown with weeds and had become a “magnet for trash, vermin and homeless encampments,” according to a release by Buscaino’s office.

“Enough is enough,” Buscaino said in the release. “We need to respond to the community’s concerns here. This is a main thoroughfare for students in the area. For them to see all this trash…completely unacceptable.”

Busciano was approached at the beginning of the month at a meeting of the Watts Gang Task Force and was joined at the cleanup by officers from LAPD’s Southeast Division, members of the Southeast Division Spanish Community Police and Advisory Board, the Watts Gang Task Force, LA Conservation Corps and the Bureau of Street Services.

“A cleanup like this, organized like this, hasn’t been done in years,” said Robert Martinez, Senior Lead Officer for LAPD’s Southeast Division, in the release.

He noted that a cleaner plot of land would bring positive changes to the lives of nearby middle school students who see the plot every day and will no longer have to look at signs of poverty and crime.