Moving to da’ East (Part 2): Malachi

Malachi and his family were one of the first people to live in McKendall Estates. Nobody else wanted to play with Malachi because they believed that he was “bad,” but he was one of my first friends, and we later became best friends. With his brown skin, buzzcut hair, and muscle shirts, he used to protect me from neighborhood dangers. Whether it was a dog chasing me, or a kid thinking he or she could beat me in basketball, Malachi always had my back, and I always had his.

His house was only down the street from mine. If I wasn’t being lazy, I would walk over there, or if I knew we were going on some kind of adventure, I would ride my bike to his house. Malachi has two older brothers, Matt and V, and his parents are one of the successful black people that my mom talked about. I remember going to Malachi’s house and we would play outside, sneak to the other neighborhood and play basketball, play video games, play hide and go seek, and other made-up games.

His family would take me on road trips with them to the country and ride 4-wheelers with his cousins. I remember sitting on the back of Malachi’s red and black 4-wheeler, holding his small torso with my face digging into his back. “I thought you were tough,” he would always tell me. I was, but this always scared me. His cousins would pull up next to us, and ask Malachi if he wanted to race. He always asked me first, and I told him to go for it. He always went fast, but sometimes, his cousins were faster.

He attended Faith Church, the non-denominational church in the East. His grandparents were members of Faith Church as well. Sometimes they would bring him to church with them. Malachi and I would be with the other children at the church where they had games set up for us to play, such as dodgeball, and we would have a church service that wouldn’t last longer than 30 minutes.

Kayla’s sister, Kristin, their mother Denise, and Kayla at an award ceremony for Kristin at Resurrection of Our Lord in New Orleans East.

Part 3: My first time eating steak

Editor’s Note: This story is one of a series reprinted from the book A Guide to South Louisiana: Stories of Uncommon Culture. Each author was a student in Rachel Breunlin’s “Storytelling and Culture” course for the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Orleans in the Spring of 2017. The Neighborhood Story Project sponsored the project as part of its mission to publish collaborative ethnography in high quality books in which the authors receive royalties for their creative labor.


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