Land of Opportunity

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Tr\'Vel Lyons


A Displaced New Orleanian attempts to find his footing in a new city

Like Marcio and Elza, displaced New Orleanians like Tr’Vel Lyons also struggle to find community and solid footing in new and unfamiliar places. We follow Tr’Vel from his middle school graduation in 2006 in Los Angeles through his high school career. As a high school student in Los Angeles, Tr’Vel is committed to taking advantage of what he sees as greater educational and economic opportunities away from New Orleans. However when he pays a visit to his hometown for the first time since Katrina, he becomes keenly aware of the price he’s paid by being away from beloved friends and family.

Where is he now?

After graduating from Westchester High School in Los Angeles in 2010, Tr’Vel was awarded a Gates Millenium Scholarship, which provides Tr’Vel with full tuition payments for all of college and graduate school. Tr’Vel is finishing his Sophomore year at UCLA this spring, and is majoring in Philosophy. His mother, Debrah Tanner, still hopes to return to New Orleans someday but is doing well in California.

You can read Tr’Vel’s high school graduation speech by clicking here.