Late Saturday night, a lone Bounty Hunter stood in front of "The Wall" at the Nickerson Gardens gym and eyed an approaching stranger suspiciously. But, when the stranger said he is here of behalf of "Loaf", the tension melted.
"You see that story in the Times about the Wall?"
The Bounty Hunter hadn't..
"Well Loaf did and he kinda baffled why his name wasn't even mentioned."
"Ah, man, " the Bounty Hunter said. "That ain't right. Loaf created this wall right here."
If you created something and the local paper wrote about your creation, wouldn't you be at least a little baffled if they didn't even mention your name?
That's how Brian "Loaf" McLucas felt after reading a May 1 Los Angeles Times article about his creation - "The Wall" at Nickerson Gardens, where the names of dead project residents are displayed. There was no mention of him being the creator of this wall..
Big Donny Joubert, a Nickerson Gardens legend, said the omission of McLucas's name was wrong and certainly not because his name didn't come up in any talk of the origin of the Wall. . "Sometimes, reporters don't use all the information they gather. Hell, we all know Loaf and them created the Wall."
McLucas, was born and raised in the Nickerson Gardens. He explains his background. "My father was from the Nickerson Gardens and my grandmother, Miss Ernestine, died in the Nickerson Gardens. My mother moved to the Nickersons in 1959 or 60, not for sure. I was originally raised in apartment 11218 Success Ave., apartment 970, but in the early 1970s our ceiling caved in and we moved to the newly remodeled apartments at 1571 E. 114th St., Apt 822."
In late 1980s, one of Loaf's closest friends, Robert "Crawfdog" Crawford, died.
"I was standing in front of the gym thinking nobody is gonna remember all the homes who have gone," Loaf wrote in an email from Federal prison recently. "I just felt that we had to do something to remember them by,"
With the help of Harry Weber, a Hollywood advertising man McLucas and Crawford had meet in June 1988, the Saturday morning "Wall Project" began.
Weber met McLucas met at a 1988 Jesse Jackson presidential campaign event. He went on to collaborate on the play "Crossfire", largely written by McLucas. That's where the quote "Nobody can stop this war but us", that anchors the mural was created.
"Every Saturday we'll meet at the front of the gym," recalled McLucas. "The first phase was the cleaning of the wall which in itself is a story."
"The wall started off for the homies, but how could we just add the few and not add our extended family? Mothers, fathers grand parents, so it was natural to add all our peoples, after the first few names, all names of those that died were put on the wall."
"I have not been there to add many names as the people in our community who have died. That has been done by the brothers who have been left out there i have been in the joint whenever they have added names, I don't know if they have updated the wall consistently when someone dies."
"We pour out our drinks every drink before it touches our lips as a way to pay homage "Gone But Not Forgotten" is the opening lines of the never ending saga of life and death in the Nickerson Gardens. "Keep The Future Alive" is a goal of all of us, to help the future survive,"
"That is my life's mission. To help those find a way out of the cycle that has cost so many of us our lives".
On part of the mural to the left of the gym doors, is a panel which depicts Loaf standing watch..
That Saturday night, when the stranger was walking away, the Bounty Hunter called out. "Net time you talk to Loaf tell him we miss him out here."
To reach Loaf write to : Brian McLucas # 60947097, USP Atlanta , P.O. Box 150160, Atlanta, Georgia, 30315
On the left in the red, Loaf is standing watch.