Lucky Johnson… A Quiet Hero For New Orleans
Edwin Buggage Data News Weekly Editor-in-Chief
These are Selfless Times
In these troubling times, where many are in the mode of trying to put the pieces of their lives back together, and in the aftermath of Hurricane IDA, many of us are seeking inspiration that will help us cope the uncertainty of rebuilding. It is during these times that selfless individuals emerge. Those that truly become their brother’s and sister’s keeper’s. It is these everyday heroes and sheroes that show the best of our great city and its amazing spirit of kindness and giving back.
While there are countless individuals who are doing this work, Lucky Johnson, is going the extra mile and is an example of what is needed in the city right now. With his straightforward approach to getting things done, he is on a crusade to make life better for the citizens of New Orleans. His holistic approach to service is one to be admired and is a blueprint for those who want to serve others.
“I am a native of New Orleans, I am an actor comedian, philanthropist, activist and father,” he says, describing himself in his unmistakable New Orleans accent.
Describing how previous storms prepared him on how to help those during IDA he says, “I went through a lot with Hurricane Katrina, and what I went through taught me a lot about survival and what was necessary to sustain in these conditions.”
“It helped me prepare to do for myself and others, so I had generators, water, I provided food and essentials, gas for generators, so that power can be on in houses. I also provided toiletries, pampers, wipes and ice. It was a situation where I could help people when they could not help themselves. Not because they did not have the ability, but because the of lack of resources. I felt good to be able to perform these duties, and by the grace of God help my fellow citizens get these essential supplies in their time of need.”
Giving a Place of Hope and Refuge
The Lucky Johnson Community Center located in New Orleans East is a beacon of light, providing services that empower and inspire. During these perilous and uncertain times Johnson’s Community Center became a place of refuge for those in need.
“Normally, my community center serves multiple purposes that include hosting stage plays, after school tutoring, birthday parties and events, yoga instructions, exercise and these are free to the community.”
Continuing he says, “I also do acting classes, a church uses it on Sunday. In storms I transform it to a shelter, there is a radio station where I do a podcast and I the teach kids how to use the equipment. Also, there are boxing classes, self- defense, a restaurant and office space.”
When word came that Hurricane IDA would hit New Orleans, and leaving much destruction in its wake, Johnson, leaped into action to help the most vulnerable citizens of New Orleans.
“My community center was a place of refuge for the handicap, the elderly who could not get away and I allowed them to come there and powered it with a generator. I also own several buses, so I was able to bus people out free of charge to get them to their family and friends in Atlanta, Houston and Tennessee.”
Helping in the Clean-Up Effort
Also, as many have come to see upon returning, that the city is having a problem with trash and debris that are in every pocket of the city. It is a monumental task and will take time. And the elected leadership is working hard to fix this problem, but it is causing concern from the citizens, who for weeks have had its unsightly presence. Johnson understands these challenges, and is trying to help the residents, and for a nominal fee is hauling away trash bags and debris.
“Weeks later, I am still working hard getting things done, because we have a trash and debris problem. I think those charged with doing this work at the governmental level are overwhelmed and are trying their best with the resources they have, but I decided that I would contribute and do my part. I put a team together to help minimize their workload.
I purchased five dump trailers and hired 20 guys and I have two shifts and we are picking up trash bags, not the cans and also debris. We are hauling the trash to the free site that the mayor has stipulated and the debris in the east.”
Understanding that the leadership are doing their part to try to get as much as they can in the recovery effort and realizing the bureaucracy to coordinating his efforts with them. Johnson listened to his inner voice and the cries of the people, who have to live in conditions that if the trash and debris are not moved, are not only eyesores, but can potentially become a public health hazard.
“I am doing this independent; it is too time consuming to wait. The people are in need now. I had a plan to do this and initiated it immediately to make an impact and help my community and those who are in need. It is working out in the city’s favor. I am just trying to be helpful and resourceful to alleviate the problem because it is something that needs to be done.”
He and his team are getting much love and support in the community for their efforts. Johnson says he feels joy when he is helping others.
“People in the communities across the city are being very supportive and cheering us on. Our effort is an attempt at boosting the morale of our fellow citizens. I know the work I and others are doing stepping outside of what we do to clean up the city will not last forever, but we all must do our part. We all have to come together to get a handle on this. That’s all of us, not just our political leaders, all hands have to be on deck for the sake of the people and making our city a safe and clean place for all of us to live.”
Lessons from My Parents: Bless to Be a Blessing
Lucky Johnson says his spirit of giving back came from his parents: mother, Jerry Banks, and his father Robert Johnson.
“My parents taught me to serve and bless others. To do what is pleasing to God, and I realize his purpose for me is to look out for my people, and I am doing that with 10 toes on the ground, boots on the ground and with the people to make things better.”
He’s been in films with many A-List stars and counts as friends’ people such as Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and many others. He is also the first cousin of media mogul and philanthropist Tyler Perry, who is also a native of New Orleans, who also uses his resources to help those in need.
In the wake of Hurricane IDA he says, “I am in contact with some of my friends that are celebrities, and many are willing to help, and so much is needed right now.” But it is not only them who can help, but anyone with resources that want to help not just the people of New Orleans, but the River Parishes, please do what you can. Because in these times, we have to truly become our brother’s and sister’s keeper. It is how we will rebuild and thrive as a community not just in New Orleans, but anywhere where people are in need.”