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Meet the people behind Louisville Magazine & LPM's 'Home' series

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Cédric Ballarati
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Welcome to Our Homes

Meet the Louisvillians behind the “Home” issue of Louisville Magazine produced in partnership with  Louisville Public Media.

 

Cédric Ballarati took the photographs for “Beautiful Intricacies.” He lives in Belknap.

Do you feel at home in Louisville? "Sometimes. In September 2020, I moved with my wife to Louisville for her new job. People are very nice in general, but I’m still learning about cultural differences between Kentucky and the Netherlands. Also, I’m fascinated with how people take good care of the front yards.”

In one word, home is _______. Essential.


Erik Branch took the photographs for the story “home: noun.” He lives in Pine Valley Estates (near J-town).

Outside your house, where in Louisville do you feel most at home? "Basketball gyms. My peace comes from watching both of my sons play and work hard at the sport they love, the sport we all love.”


Andrew Cenci created the project with disposable film cameras. He lives in Shelby Park.

How has your life changed since March 2020? "Not to get religious or anything, but I think about how in the Bible — like Genesis, the very beginning — God says it is not good to be alone. We are supposed to be connected; we are interconnected beings.”


Jon Cherry took the photographs for “Cherished Stares.” He lives in the Highlands.

What does “home” mean to you? "A place where you feel at peace, safe and secure. Not always a physical building, it can be a place in your mind where you go to feel at ease.”


Tracy Clayton wrote the story “Roses and Thorns.” She grew up in west Louisville near Shawnee Park and now lives in Brooklyn.

What does “home” mean to you? "Safety. It’s the place that you can return to again and again and again when the world just wears you out and wears you down and you need to let your nervous system relax and breathe again.”

How has your relationship with Louisville changed since March 2020? "My pride in
my city has dissipated, if not disappeared altogether, since Breonna Taylor was killed by LMPD officers. I no longer feel safe there. I no longer feel safe anywhere, honestly.”

In one word, home is _______. "Distant."


Nikayla Edmondson-Ezell wrote the story “home: noun.” A Louisville native, Nikayla lived all over the city and now calls Chicago home.

How has your relationship with Louisville changed since March 2020? "I want
to understand Louisville as a growing city, but some things about it will always make it predictably the same — two steps forward, two and a half steps back. Almost afraid to redefine itself.”

Outside your house, where in Louisville do you feel most at home? "Day’s Espresso & Coffee, the bench at the waterfront that sits perfectly between the two bridges, and the Highlands Tap Room for the good, bad and very ugly days.”


Amina Elahi, city editor at WFPL News, contributed editing. She lives in St. Matthews.

What does “home” mean to you? "Home is my son’s sleepy reach before the lights blink on. Home is my daughter’s triumphant blanket-fort engineering. Home is my husband and me putting our feet up and sharing a silence we no longer feel obliged to fill. Home is also lounging on my parents’ couch, whispering with my sisters after everyone else goes to sleep and laughing with my in-laws as the kids get up to mischief.”

How has your relationship with Louisville changed since March 2020? "Louisville is my adopted home, and I don’t expect to live anywhere else. My relationship to it changed twice in 2020 — once in March, when the pandemic changed the logistics of how my family and I lived, and then in May, when the reality of how police killed Breonna Taylor started to see more light and when Louisvillians decided not to ignore that injustice. "I was already committed to using my role as a journalist to make Louisville a better place to live for everyone. What I’ve learned about this place is that regular people have the power and opportunity to influence its future. But the last two years also affirmed that the people who run the city, and the structures they operate in, need to be held to account to make way for progress.”

Something about your neighborhood you wish more people knew about? "Yes, living close to Trader Joe’s is amazing.”


Laura Ellis, director of podcasts and special projects at Louisville Public Media, worked with the Young Authors Greenhouse for this issue. She lives in Wyandotte in south Louisville.

What should people visit in your neighborhood? “Iroquois Park because it’s beautiful.”

Since March 2020, what’s something Louisville has lost? "Our innocence.”

Since March 2020, what’s something Louisville has gained? "A willingness to band together against injustice, I hope.”


Sarah Flood-Baumann designed this issue. She grew up in the south Louisville and now lives in Lexington.

What does "home" mean to you? "There is a quote from Rumi that states, ‘Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you.’ As a military spouse who has lived at seven different addresses in the past eight years, home isn’t where my stuff lands or where my favorite coffee shop is. Being at home in my skin feels safe, joyful and content.”


Tyler Franklin, visual media producer at Louisville Public Media, took the photographs for the stories “Supply in Demand” and “Mayoral Candidates Talk Home.” He lives in Shelby Park.

What does “home” mean to you? "Existence is exhausting, but home is where the batteries get recharged, with a door that affords you a sense of privacy and security.”

How has your relationship with your home changed since March 2020? "Home was always a place to escape to, but since lockdown it has also become a place to escape from. The comforts of home are alluring and addicting, and left unmoderated, Netflix and chill can become a lifestyle instead of just an activity.”

How has your relationship with Louisville changed since March 2020? "March 2020 kick-started a series of events that could be described as an awakening for parts of Louisville, and whether you supported or denounced the thousands of Louisvillians who took to the streets, you damn well heard their message. Bearing witness to the power of the people and community organizing has improved my perception of what’s possible in ‘Possibility City.’”

Outside your house, where in Louisville do you feel most at home? "Downtown. You can find the best and worst aspects of Louisville downtown — it’s the truth of our city. You see the city as it really is, warts and all.”

Something about your neighborhood you wish more people knew about? "Shelby Park has been rapidly gentrifying over the past decade, and my block is unrecognizable from what it looked like even five years ago. Many vacant houses in our neighborhood are owned by out-of-state investors who do not care about or even engage with our community. I wish people had a better understanding of actionable measures we can take to prevent things like this from happening and protect longtime residents from displacement.”


Stephen George is president of Louisville Public Media. He lives in the Upper Highlands. How has your relationship with your home changed since March 2020? "I’ve been in my home a lot more since March 2020, so I notice details I didn’t before. I became obsessed with fixing the smallest imperfections during lockdown — in part because I was always looking at them, and in part because it was something to control in a time of chaos and confusion. Thankfully, that has abated. Home is still the place where I’m most calm.” How has your relationship with Louisville changed since March 2020? "I’m more frustrated with Louisville than I have been in a very long time. The city’s official response — from the Mayor’s Office and police — to the protests of 2020 was hostile, violent and unwelcoming. They chose fear and aggression when they could’ve showed compassion. I lost faith in institutions whose credibility was already hanging on by a thread, if at all. "JCPS has shown more leadership than any other civic institution during this period. They’ve shouldered more societal responsibility than schools should have to, picking up in the absence of leadership from other elected officials and government entities. "I’m still hopeful for our city, though. I’ve heard more voices than ever speaking up for progress. I see creativity all around. The same energy that drew me back to my hometown after living away is still here.” Something about your neighborhood you wish more people knew about? "Can I keep it a secret?”


Benjamin Greenberg, a summer intern at the magazine, helped create and spread the word about the online interview we set up for this issue. He lives in the Highlands. How has your relationship with your home changed since March 2020? "My family bond strengthened during the pandemic because we spent so much time together at home.” How has your relationship with Louisville changed since March 2020? "Louisville feels less safe today. I also see more homeless people, more boarded-up houses and, overall, more inequality. I know these things existed before March 2020, but they all seem to have gotten worse. My eyes have been more open to these inequities since March 2020.”


Gabrielle Jones, vice president of content at Louisville Public Media, helped plan and edit this issue. She lives downtown. How has your relationship with Louisville changed since March 2020? "I began calling Louisville home in January 2022. Why here?Why now? I feel called to be in this community at this moment. And the feeling of walking in a purpose — one that you recognize you’ve been preparing for without even realizing it — gives me a real sense of comfort and belonging, even when things are uncomfortable and even though I’m without family here.”


Shellee Marie Jones helped design this issue and prepare it for printing. She lives in the Highlands. Something about your neighborhood you wish more people knew about? "You might see deer walking down Speed Avenue if you’re lucky.”


Yasmine Jumaa, who covers race and equity for WFPL News, co-wrote the story “Supply in Demand.” She lives in St. Joseph. What does “home” mean to you? "Home is having family and close friends near and getting to cook for and feed them. It’s what I imagine a community is: a sense of belonging, comfort, security. More than anything, home is where I feel most at ease to be my genuine, open self and where I can be vulnerable on my own terms.”


Sarah Kelley helped edit this issue. She lives in Crescent Hill. What does “home” mean to you? "I love my old house, but ‘home’ is my people: My husband, Mark, cooking dinner or tinkering in the garage. Henry playing piano or basketball or Roblox, and Willa gallivanting around the alley with her girlfriends. Even Steve the Dog gazing at squirrels in the backyard from the comfort of his favorite couch. "The alley just behind our house is where kids play and neighbors congregate. A place that’s home to chili cook-offs, Halloween parties, the occasional impromptu happy hour. A place where you can be completely yourself.”


Suhas Kulkarni helped recruit “new Americans” (people not originally from this country) to be interviewed for this issue. He lives in Prospect. How has your relationship with your home changed since March 2020? "It has become way more uneasy, not only because of what happened to Breonna Taylor, but because of the in-your-face xenophobia our country has experienced.” Outside your house, where do you feel most at home? "Back in India, my birthplace. Even though there is turmoil and change there, experiencing similar cultures, languages, food and people — that mitigates the gap between belief systems.”


Jenni Laidman wrote the story "'Put a Dent in the Universe'" She lives in Clifton Heights. What does “home” mean to you? "Home is wherever Joey the Husband and Phoebe the Poodle are.” How has your relationship with your home changed since March 2020? "The ‘house’ part of it has, dramatically, but that’s a bit of a coincidence because we moved into a new house May 2020. This house has loads of windows, so I’m really aware of the sun moving across the sky. Also, it has the kitchen of my dreams, where I spent a lot of time during COVID making stuff and taking online cooking classes.” Community is ______. "My neighborhood, my book group, my coworkers in the Department of Communication at U of L, the members of the sewing class I take, the folks at the food pantry and even friends I haven’t lived near in years — all feel like community to me. To me, community is the network that supports you and that you support. That can happen in small ways as well as major ones.”


Josh Moss is editor of Louisville Magazine. He lives, in the words of his kindergartener, “super- duper close to the zoo. Can we go there?” In one word, home is ______. "Naps.”


Jacob Munoz, who covers business and development at WFPL News, co-wrote the story “Supply in Demand.” He lives in Highlands-Douglass. What does “home” mean to you? "Connection, ease of heart, peace of mind.” In one word, home is ______. "Freedom.”


Deana Nelson is Louisville Magazine’s business manager. She lives in Beechmont. How has your relationship with your home changed since March 2020? "The inequities of our community have been laid bare since March 2020.” Community is ________. "Change. Communities are always changing! Blocks, neighborhoods, cities, groups — they’re all composed of people, and people change. Groups change, ZIP codes change. Embrace the change!” Something about your neighborhood you wish more people knew about? "I live in one of the most ethnically diverse ZIP codes in the city. Food from practically every continent is either a walk or short drive from my house. In one day, I saw/heard the following on a walk through my neighborhood: Vietnamese Buddhists walking to temple, folks learning conversational English at the library, outdoor yoga in front of the farmers’ market and a car thumping Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ from robust speakers. Beautiful.”


Hannah Rose Neuhauser is the program director at Young Authors Greenhouse, which contributed the poems beginning on page. She lives in Crescent Hill. What does “home” mean to you? "The smell of garlic sizzling on the stove. A pot of beans simmering. A place to share food and stories with those you love. My whole family lives off Frankfort Avenue, and it is almost impossible to drive or walk down the street without seeing another Neuhauser. I visit my parents’ house almost every day, and my whole family has dinner together once a week. Aside from that, I feel at home at Hilltop Tavern and the Holy Grale, where I feel welcomed no matter what I'm feeling — in times of joy and celebration and also in times of exhaustion and grief. Plus, French fries.”


Scotty Perry took the photographs for “Everything on Time.” He lives in Beechmont. How has your relationship with Louisville changed since March 2020? "A lot has happened in this city regarding displacement of those in need or the houseless that has made me rethink what the compassionate city really is about.” Community is ________. "My city. And Louisville is unique. A big-city small town or a small town that happens to be a big city. I’ve never met anyone from here or who has moved here who hasn't experienced that feeling of two degrees of separation.”


Roberto Roldan, who covers local politics and government for WFPL News, interviewed mayoral candidates. He lives in the Highlands. Outside your house, where in Louisville do you feel most at home? "With the friends I’ve made living in Louisville, whether that’s at someone’s home, playing pool at Barret Bar or hanging out in one of the city’s awesome urban parks.”


Iyabo-Mesa Serikali took the photographs for “Broadway Past Ninth.” She grew up in Russell and now lives in Old Louisville. Outside your house, where in Louisville do you feel most at home? "Old Louisville. I know so many people and never feel far from a friend. Also, the other day I was listening to If the Rains Come First, by Somi: ‘Home is where you know you can always touch your feet to the floor.’ This resonates with all the nuance and change that can come with the feeling of home.” Something about your neighborhood you wish more people knew about? "So much heart, talent, resilience and greatness live in the West End. West Louisville produces exceptional people, and it is starving for the resources we truly deserve.”


Gray Smith is the vice president of corporate sponsorship at Louisville Public Media. He lives in the Highlands. How has your relationship with Louisville changed since March 2020? "I am much more aware of our divisions and our challenges as a city and am much more interested in ways to contribute to Louisville’s betterment.” How has your relationship with Louisville changed since March 2020? "I’m still in mourning because so many wonderful independent businesses and restaurants had to close their doors due to the financial strain from COVID, not to mention all the musicians and artists who've had to bow out until recently. So much is slowly regaining its momentum, but it has been a long couple of years of losing what makes Louisville Louisville.”


Jack Welch helped edit this issue. He lives in Crescent Hill. What does “home” mean to you? "Comfort in my surroundings, in my neighborhood and in my voting precinct.” What’s something about your neighborhood you wish more people knew about? "The lack of crescents in Crescent Hill.”


Mickie Winters photographed the cover and the story “‘Put a Dent in the Universe.’” She lives in Germantown. Do you feel at home in Louisville? "I do still feel at home in Louisville, but the recent changes to basic human rights in regard to Roe v. Wade has made me question where I feel safe living as a person with a uterus.” How has your relationship with Louisville changed since March 2020? "I’m still in mourning because so many wonderful independent businesses and restaurants had to close their doors due to the financial strain from COVID, not to mention all the musicians and artists who've had to bow out until recently. So much is slowly regaining its momentum, but it has been a long couple of years of losing what makes Louisville Louisville.”


Tell us — what does home mean to you? We hope you’ll take a few minutes to reflect and answer these questions.