Ms. Gloria Irving–known to many as Mama Glo–passed away this morning. The following interview with her is from the July 2009 Communities Rising newsletter.
My name is Gloria Irving. I was living at 1460 Milton, and they called me Mama Glo. So that’s the name I go by, Mama Glo. I’m 74 years old. Some things I can remember and some things I can’t. So you have to excuse me. But I thank God I’m in the land of the living where I can talk about some of it.
I’m always into something. I’m Captain of the Martin Luther King parade. I’m a Grand Marshall to jazz bands. I dance. Did funerals until I lost all the strength in my legs….I opened the Armstrong Park with the Olympia Brass Band. I was one of the dancers….
I knew around St. Bernard. I knew just about everybody back there….I miss the people. I miss the site. I miss everything about St. Bernard and that area. I miss everything! ….I was a part of things…. I just like helping people. I been helping people since I was young.
I told them I didn’t want to die in Houston, Texas. I wanted to come back to New Orleans where I live at to die. You shipped me out there live, you gonna ship me back live! I was glad to get back. Some people talk about they don’t want to come back to New Orleans, this or that, but you know in due time, they’re going to be second lining, doing everything on that I-10 trying to get back to New Orleans!
….before they tore the projects down, we were out there fighting for them to not tear the projects down. But they tore them down anyway. Everything they did to us was illegal. I still have my door key to where I was living, my lease…..and they put us out…. Katrina came through here. And thereby they had a quick way of tearing them down, because we didn’t have nobody here. But they could have salvaged that…..Now they spent all that money to tear em down…. And they didn’t even think about where the people was going to stay after they tore them down…..
When we get ready to have our struggle, just come out and help us if you want to come home. And I miss you all, and I love you all.